Where do Interest Rates have left to go?

By
Industry Observer with NMLS ID: 40831

So what comes next for Interest Rates, and the housing industry?

This is the $64,000 question (actually given today's hyper spending maybe that should be $64 Million Question). The last couple days have seen a significant spike in interest rates, and there are a number of reasons, but they all eventually come back to the overspending by our government. Specific to this week is the health care bill, and with it comes some fairly stark world opinion of the passage of this plan. While the Obama administration, and the Democrat party are selling the American public on the idea that this will somehow lower the US deficit by several hundred Billion Dollars, the rest of the world is not buying.

The final Treasury auction of this week saw what is basically a 20% decline in participation that Wall Street Bond traders directly attribute to the passage of the Health care bill.  Investors paid about 10% less for every dollar of debt, and Indirect Bidders (mainly Foreign Central Banks) bought roughly 20% less than they have been over the last year.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/treasurys-recover-after-rout-7-year-sale-on-tap-2010-03-25  Their take on the latest auction results is that investors believe private corporations are a better credit risk than the US Government!

Add to this with the knowledge that the Federal Reserve stops buying Mortgages (actually Mortgage Backed Securities - MBS) next Wednesday which means the private sector will have to step up to replace what amounts to nearly 80% of the mortgage market buying. That is the same private sector that is viewed by investors as being more responsible with their budget than the US government.

So what do you think they will expect for a return on their investment compared to the Fed? 

Comments (7)

Steve McCoole
Mortgage Alliance Group - San Diego, CA - NMLS#305667 - San Diego, CA

The fact that the Fed will stop becoming a buyer of MBS and start becoming a seller will be a double whammy to the market.  More supply, less demand, what does that tell you?

Mar 26, 2010 05:29 AM
Ron Brown NMLS #270845
NMLS ID: 40831 - Federal Way, WA

Steve - I did not even want to bring up the fact about what the Fed must do to end "quantitative easing" in this blog.  That is another very convoluted problem when you consider that Fannie & Freddie have what amounts to a blank check from the White House December action, and Barney Frank telling shareholders that their bonds will have to take a haircut, or even possibly be deemed valueless.  What happens to the $1.5 TRILLION worth of these that sit on the Fed's balance sheet then?  Worse yet, what happens to the real estate market when the Fed is forced to dump their inventory at fire sale prices?

Mar 26, 2010 05:56 AM
Paul Warkow
Paul Warkow-D.G. Weber Law Associates - Hauppauge, NY

I think it is all politics and the Treasury and the Fed will not allow interest rates to go up too much.  That will kill off any housing recovery.  Whether it makes economic sense or not, somehow the government will step in to choke off any large increase in interest rates.  They may tolerate a small increase, but nothing more.

Mar 26, 2010 08:53 AM
Ron Brown NMLS #270845
NMLS ID: 40831 - Federal Way, WA

Paul - How will they control private industry from requiring an adequate ROI?  Remember, our government is auctioning debt at the rate of roughly $100 Billion every other week, and the appetite for that debt is beginning to wane.  The only solution that fits with what you are saying is basically to monetize the debt.

Mar 26, 2010 10:18 AM
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

At some point they will run out of options... they will HAVE to let the dollar deflate while allowing interest rates to spike.  They simply won't be able to finance the debt anymore. 

Mar 26, 2010 02:42 PM
Ron Brown NMLS #270845
NMLS ID: 40831 - Federal Way, WA

Lane - The only option I see is a purposeful Inflation.  It is a proven point in economics that a borrower gains during times of higher inflation because they are paying back their debt with dollars of less value.  While it is a bit like a conspiracy theory to go there, we would not be the first country to do this (look at Argentina recently), but we would be the largest by far.

Mar 27, 2010 07:03 AM
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Ron, the balance is that inflation usually causes interest rates to rise... and they have to pay higher rates, too.  I think right now they are looking for a way to deflate the value of the currency while keeping interest low...  Maybe we'll see something like the opposite of Carter's Stagflation. 

Mar 27, 2010 04:05 PM