Falling Home Prices Good News For Market Overall?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Alliance

Mike J. Gold
Managing Broker
RE/MAX Horizons Group
Office: 303.327.6880
Fax: 303.327.6890
Toll Free: 1.800.626.1419

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When the dust kicked up by the current mortgage crisis settles, we may well look back on these days as a great time for investment.  With home prices off 35-50% in some areas from highs set a few years ago, purchasing properties has scarcely been easier.  On the other hand, dropping home values and worries about the solvency of the mortgage investment capital firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be the other edge of the sword. 
Firms like Fannie and Freddie are necessary to ensure liquidity and stability in the mortgage market as they provide the actual funds that mortgage securities investors’ receive as returns on their investments.  They represent the only such companies in existence and currently own or back $5 Trillion in mortgages.
The main fear of investors is that any disruption of Fannie and Freddie's operations could directly affect mortgage rates, possible raising them as much as 0.25-0.50%. Currently, while the market waits to see what will become of Fannie and Freddie, mortgage rates continue to drop.  The prime rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell 0.05 points to 6.48% in the last week according to Bankrate.com.  The prime 15-year fixed fell 8 basis points to 6.01% while the rate for an 5/1 ARM is down .04 points to 6.05%. 
Date and Time
Producer Price Index
Tues. July 15,
8:30 am, et
All Goods: 1.8% (Increase)
Core: 0.3% (Increase)
Very Important. Surging oil and food prices could push the economy closer toward recession.
Retail Sales
Tues. July 15,
8:30 am, et
Important. The increase is likely the result of higher prices, not additional purchases.
Business Sales
Tues. July 15,
10:00 am, et
0.0% Important. No increase in sales suggests businesses activity is slowing.
Mortgage Applications Wed. July 16,
7:00 am, et
None Important. Lower rates and lower home prices are stimulating additional activity.
Consumer Price Index
Wed. July 16,
8:30 am, et
All Goods: 0.7% (increase)
Core: 0.3%
Very Important. An unexpected increase in consumer prices could push credit rates higher.
Industrial Production
Wed. July 16,
9:15 am, et
Moderately Important. Production is expected to fall on slowing business sales.
Housing Market Index
Wed. July 16,
1:00 pm, et
Important. The index confirms that the housing recovery remains elusive.
Federal Reserve FOMC Minutes Wed. July 16,
2:00 pm, et
None Important. The minutes are expected to reveal clues to the Fed's bias on interest rates.
Housing Starts
Thurs. July 16,
8:30 am, et
Important. Markets are looking for signs of stabilization.

 Why we shouldn't worry 

Since the rates Fannie and Freddie borrow at are directly tied to the prime, they are still able to borrow at a fairly low rate, so even as their corporate stock prices decline, the securities they sell remain strong.  This means the financial institutions Fannie and Freddie borrow from will continue to lend then the billions of dollars a week they need to keep the market liquid.


Comments (2)

Bryan King
Ascent Home Loans - Simpsonville, SC

While the rates seem to be dropping, people need to realize that these rates are for the people with the finest credit.  Not to say that people with a little less than perfect credit can't get good rates.  In a lot of cases they can, just not the "best" rates.

Jul 17, 2008 09:35 AM
Veronica DeCarolis
Weidel Realtors - Flemington, NJ

Thanks for the information. It gives us all something to work for.  Veroncia

Jul 17, 2008 09:42 AM