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Friday, March 26, 2010

Counting Down to "The Deadline"

Mortgage Rates: Moving Up

Everyone in the housing business seems to be counting down to the approaching deadline with baited breath.

No, not April 30, when the home buyer tax credits expire.

March 31, when the Federal Reserve stops buying mortgages and mortgage-backed securities -- reportedly, anywhere from $10 to $25 billion, per week, since at least last Fall.

Those purchases act like a huge subsidy, keeping rates down and the mortgage securities market liquid.

The Fed Exits

How big a subsidy?

We're about to find out.

No doubt anticipating the Fed's exit, interest rates have been rising this week; just this Wednesday, according to Edina Mortgage's Lala Brosz, rates on jumbo mortgage re-set four times, from around 5.25% at the beginning of the day, to 5.5% at the end.

The potential updraft in mortgage rates makes it more imperative that prospective Buyers lock in good rates while they're still low (vs. float, in the hopes that they'll drift down).

It may also be a good time to inquire about whether your lender offers a re-lock option, which can be cheap insurance in an environment of rising rates.

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