Posts Tagged ‘FOMC,Fed Funds Rate,Mortgage Rates’

Comments Off on The Fed Is Meeting Today. Should You Float Or Lock Your Mortgage Rate?

The Fed Is Meeting Today. Should You Float Or Lock Your Mortgage Rate?


2010
08.10

Fed Funds Rate June 2007-June 2010The Federal Open Market Committee holds a one-day meeting today, its fifth scheduled meeting of the year, and sixth overall since January.

The FOMC is the government’s monetary policy-setting arm and the group’s primary tool for that purpose is an interest rate called the Fed Funds Rate

The Fed Funds Rate is the prescribed rate at which banks borrow money from each other and, since December 16, 2008, the Federal Reserve has voted to keep the benchmark rate within a target range of 0.000-0.250 percent.

It’s the lowest Fed Funds Rate in history.

Because the Fed Funds Rate is near zero, it’s accommodative of economic growth, spurring businesses and consumers to borrow money on the cheap. This, in turn, fosters economic growth within a U.S. economy that is somewhat tentative and facing headwinds.

The Fed has said over and again that it will hold the Fed Funds Rate “exceptionally low” for as long as conditions warrant.  It’s expect that the Fed will reiterate that message in today’s post-meeting press release.

However, just because the Fed Funds Rate won’t be changing today, that doesn’t mean that mortgage rates won’t.  Mortgage rates are not set by the Federal Reserve; open markets make mortgage rates.

Mortgage rates in AZ tend to be volatile when the Fed is meeting. This is because the Fed’s press release highlights strengths and weaknesses in the economy and, depending on how Wall Street views those remarks, bond markets can undulate and mortgage rates are based on the price of mortgage-backed bonds.

When Ben Bernanke & Co. speak, Wall Street listens. 

The Fed’s press release today will be dissected and analyzed.  Talk of higher-than-expected inflation, or better-than-expected growth should have a negative effect on rates. Talk of an economic slowdown may help rates to fall.

Either way, we can’t be certain what the Fed will say or do this afternoon so if you’re floating a rate right now and wondering whether the time is right to lock, the safe choice is to lock before 2:15 PM ET today.

Comments Off on The Fed Adjourns From A 2-Day Meeting Today And What It Means For Mortgage Rates

The Fed Adjourns From A 2-Day Meeting Today And What It Means For Mortgage Rates


2010
04.28

Comparing 30-year fixed mortgage rate to Fed Funds Rate since 1990The Federal Reserve adjourns from a scheduled, 2-day meeting today.  It’s one of 8 scheduled Fed meetings for 2010.

Upon adjournment, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke & Co. will release a formal statement to the market. In it, the Fed is expected to announce “no change” in the Fed Funds Rate.

The Fed Funds Rate is currently in a target range of 0.000-0.250 percent.

The Fed Funds Rate is an inter-bank lending rate. It’s also the basis for Prime Rate, a consumer interest rate on which credit card payments are based, among other consumer loans.  Prime Rate is equal to the Fed Funds Rate + 3 percent.  Credit card rates, therefore, will likely stay flat today, too.

Mortgage rates, however, should change.  Possibly by a lot.  The 30-year fixed mortgage does not correlate with the Fed Funds Rate (as shown in the chart at right).

The reason mortgage rates will change today is because, in its statement, the Federal Reserve will highlight vrious parts of the economy, identifying strengths, weaknesses and probable threats to growth. 

These observations influence investors with a stake in bond markets and future returns and, with Wall Street on edge right now — unsure of whether recent economic growth is a longer-term trend or a short-lived blip —  mortgage rates could shoot higher or they could drop, depending on how traders interpret the Fed.

It’s a difficult time to be shopping mortgages in Arizona.

Further complicating matters is Greece’s recent debt downgrade to junk status. A small contagion fear is budding worldwide and, as a result, the flight-to-quality has picked up steam. Mortgage rates are down because of it but could reverse higher at any moment.

Therefore, if you’re actively shopping for a mortgage today, it may be prudent to lock your rate ahead of the Fed’s announcement and any major market reversal. Mortgage rates may fall today, but there’s very little room for them to fall.  This is, however, a lot of room for them to rise.

The Fed adjourns at 2:15 PM ET.  Call your loan officer to lock your rate.