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When It Comes to Rates, Borrowers Don't Know What They Don't Know
As it has in the past, I received several calls on Friday that started like this: "Hey Rob, I heard that the Fed lowered interest rates again. Does this mean I can get a lower rate on my mortgage?"
In all honesty, I have to give credit to the callers in this case. They have their antennae up and are aware of what the Fed is doing and that's a great start. I like dealing with clients who are in tune. However, this week was a classic example of "you don't know what you don't know" in the mortgage market. Here are the two fundamental opposing forces with which we contended:
Yes, on Thursday, 9/13/12, the Fed did indeed launch a new round of quantitative easing (or QE). Specifically, the Fed pledged to purchase $40B of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) per month. This has the potential to be great for rates! And more so because the Fed is aiming the bond buying at MBS and not US Treasuries, and the latter does not have a direct impact on mortgage rates, contrary to what many believe.
Net Result to Mortgage Rates: LOWER
Also this week, many investors began to implement the increase in Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac's (FHLMC) guarantee fee. This is also known as the "g-fee" and it's really a type of insurance not far removed from the FHA's UFMIP. "But wait!," you say. "Conforming loans don't have mortgage insurance!" You are right. But nothing in home lending is free. FNMA and FHLMC build an insurance mechanism into their base rate and this is the purpose of the g-fee. They have earmarked it to raise by about .500 in price to the corresponding interest rate offered (this is complicated, but just know that this translates to about .125% to .250% higher in rate --- all things equal).
Net Result to Mortgage Rates: HIGHER
So when I have the conversation I described above, unfortunately I have to tell my prospect that while the environment is conducive to lower rates, this week was a wash. The Fed and the government agencies are at odds, and this is not the first time it's been this way. It doesn't make a lot of sense, and a cohesive, harmonious policy towards the housing market would serve us better. But until we get it, it's important to consult a professional about the factors that influence your mortgage options. And it's most important to take decisive action when the time is right FOR YOU, and not try to outthink and outsmart the market. You don't know what you don't know.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.