No Big Rate Surprise with the FOMC

The FOMC wrapped up their two day meeting leaving the Funds Rate unchanged.   The target rate is remaining at 0-0.25%.  Now that this decision has been formally announced, everyone will be reviewing the Fed’s statement for clues on when they will begin to raise the Fed Funds Rate.

From today’s FOMC Statement:

…the Committee expects that inflation will remain subdued for some time.

As previously announced, to provide support to mortgage lending and housing markets and to improve overall conditions in private credit markets, the Federal Reserve will purchase a total of up to $1.25 trillion of agency mortgage-backed securities and up to $200 billion of agency debt by the end of the year. In addition, the Federal Reserve will buy up to $300 billion of Treasury securities by autumn.

In these circumstances, the Federal Reserve will employ all available tools to promote economic recovery and to preserve price stability.  The Committee will maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and continues to anticipate that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period.

Fed Funds Rate now at 3%

Today the FOMC reduced the Fed Funds rate by a half point to 3%.   A half point rate cut was expected by Traders and so far we do not have significant changes (yet) to mortgage interest rates.  However, if you have a HELOC, your interest rate has just gone down again.   The Fed also reduced the Discount Rate to 3.5%.   The Fed is leaving the door open for future cuts as needed.   You can read the press release here.

We still have Thursday’s PCE report and Friday’s Jobs Report which both highly impact mortgage interest rates.  If either indicate strong inflation, we will see mortgage rates increase.


Lock It or Lose It

Mortgage rates have been very volatile these past few days.   Yesterday morning, I posted that the 30 year conforming fixed was under 5% and by the end of yesterday, mortgage rates had increased by 0.375% to rate or around 1% in fee. 

Rate shoppers lost out big time if they did not lock.

Rates are continuing to rise at this time.  Please don’t dilly dally with your mortgage interest rates.  There are fewer Mortgage Professionals to assist you in our current market and many of us experienced (and I’m still seeing it today) banks being “clogged” with people trying to lock…websites “down for maintainance”…etc.  By the time a Mortgage Professional can get through to lock in a loan, the rate is gone.  Bam.

Next week has offers a full menu of events that promise to impact mortgage interest rates:

  • FOMC Meeting on Wednesday, January 30th.   (If the Fed drops the Funds Rate…mortgage rates may rise).
  • Thursday, January 31 will bring us several economic reports which will indicate inflationary levels such as the PCE and the Chicago PMI.
  • And as next Friday is the first Friday of the month, we will wrap up the week with the Jobs Report.

Again, I highly recommend that you lock in your interest rates for conforming loans and make sure it’s for enough time for your transaction to close.   A possible bright spot:  the conforming loan limit may be increased…no promises but this will be great help for the JUMBO market from $418,000 – $620,000.

Bye for now! 

Update January 24, 2008 at 2:55 p.m.:  I just priced the 30 year fixed conforming at 1% origination/discount…I can barely lock in 5.5% (APR 5.642%) based on my usual criteria for “Friday’s Rates” (which I will be posting tomorrow).   Is it 5 yet?  😉

I Love Brian Brady's Twitter – You Will Too

I wish I could save this post for Valentines Day!   Earlier this month, fresh from Inman NY, Brian announced that he is going to start posting tidbits of rate info on Twitter.   If you subscribe to Brian’s Twitter, Mortgage Report, you’ll be notified if he feels you should be locking or floating…this is similiar to what I receive by investing my subscription to Mortgage Market Guide (bond quotes).  However, this service is free and priceless!  

Here are the alerts I received from Brian just today (which was an exceptional day):

  • 5:10 a.m. Stock futures are down 5%.  Good for mtg bonds and rates – FLOAT long purchases, LOCK all others – update later
  • 5:48 a.m. Emergency Fed Cut
  • 7:05 a.m. Mortgage bonds up close to half a point.  Expect lenders to offer 30YFRM below 5.5% today (conforming limit)
  • 1:37 p.m. FYI: I locked a 30YFRM at 5.25% with 1 point for a 5.53% apr today.  Expect ARMS to drop this week
  • 6:11 p.m. FLOAT loans closing >15 days, LOCK loans closing <15 days.  Wild day today, tomorrow promises to be as nuts.   You will hear it here 1st

This is simply a brilliant idea and a huge commitment from Brian Brady of Mortgage Rates Report and Bloodhound Blog.   If you can’t wait until the end of the work week for “Friday’s Rates”, subscribe out Brian’s Twitter!  You’ll be twitterpated.  😉

Surprise! Fed Cuts Funds Rate by 0.75%

We took our boys snowboarding last night at Snowqualmie where I began to receive text message alerts on my Treo about various markets being slammed from around the world based on fears of a US recession.   The Fed met last night deciding to make an intermeeting cut to the Funds Rate to 3.5%This is the biggest single Fed Funds rate cut since 1984.   

“The Committee took this action in view of a weakening of the economic outlook and increasing downside risks to growth.  While strains in short-term funding markets have eased somewhat, broader financial market conditions have continued to deteriorate and credit has tightened further for some businesses and households.  Moreover, incoming information indicates a deepening of the housing contraction as well as some softening in labor markets.”

The Fed also reduced the Discount Rate to 4.0% (this is the rate banks can borrower directly from the Fed) in an attempt to add liquidity to the markets.

Unless you have a HELOC, this will not directly impact mortgage rates except for how investors react to the cut.  Should they seek the safety of bonds (like mortgage backed securities) rates will go down as they have slightly this morning.   The markets are all ready off their low lows of this morning.  Mortgage rates will continue to be very volatile.

Remember, the Fed is scheduled to meet on January 30 where another rate cut is still heavily anticipated.  

Update 1/22/2008 1:00 p.m.:  Here is a graph that I came across compliments of my subscription to Loan Tool Box which shows the impact to mortgage interest rates when the Fed has recently cut the Funds rate.