Home News Worried about mortgage interest rates? Here’s what the Fed’s rate hikes mean

Worried about mortgage interest rates? Here’s what the Fed’s rate hikes mean

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June Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell. (Jacklin Martin / Associated Press)

If you are in the new mortgage market, or if you have an adjustable interest rate mortgage, you may be worried Federal Reserve Initiatives to Stop Inflation Will raise your housing costs.

Economists say there is a link between the Fed’s move and mortgage rates, but focusing on raising the Fed’s short-term interest rates is misleading.In fact, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is Bottom of wednesday Even though the Federal Reserve was ready to raise its fourth short-term interest rate in just over four months, it’s more than a week ago.

The Federal Open Market Committee did just that Wednesday, Federal Funds Rate Target — The amount that banks charge each other for overnight loans — ranges from 1.5% to 1.75% and 2.25% to 2.5%. The target was 0% to 0.25% until March.

This is a big leap, but analysts don’t expect mortgage rates, if any, to react that much. This is because the Fed’s interest rate fluctuations only have an indirect impact on mortgages and other long-term loans. They are just one of the multiple forces working at mortgage rates.

The role of the Fed

Rising federal funds rates tend to spill over into the credit market, including long-term loans such as mortgages.If you see Interest rates on 10-year government bonds It tends to move in the same direction as mortgage interest, but it rose slowly as inflation began in late 2021 and early 2022, and soared as the Fed began raising federal funds rates in March.

However, as with the average 30-year mortgage rate, interest rates on 10-year government bonds peaked in mid-June and fell again, despite the Federal Reserve’s announcement of plans to raise the federal funds rate. did. A few more times this year. The severance shows another power of the Fed to process mortgage-related assets on its balance sheet.

The Federal Reserve continued to buy bonds during the recession of 2007-2009 and during the pandemic, with mortgage-backed securities and Treasury securities soaring. Paul Single, managing director and senior economist at City National Rockdale, said rising demand for these securities would lead to higher prices, which would lead to lower interest rates. These moves, combined with low inflation and other factors, helped push mortgage rates below 3%.

Currently, the Fed is heading in the opposite direction. Stopped adding to balance sheet in March Began to reduce its holdings Due to Decrease: As bonds already owned mature or are redeemed by the issuer, the Fed will reduce the number of new bonds it buys to replace them. By September, we plan to reduce our holdings of $ 35 billion in mortgage-backed securities and $ 60 billion in Treasury securities each month.

In other words, according to Single, the Fed buys $ 120 billion worth of securities a month, allowing it to roll off $ 95 billion in books a month. According to Single, this is a bond that “someone else has to buy” and exceeds $ 2.5 trillion a year.

Robert Heck, vice president of mortgages at Mortgage, an online mortgage broker, said the FRB is “the biggest buyer of mortgage-backed securities in the last 15 years.” The decision to withdraw from the market would significantly increase the supply of those securities, lower prices and raise interest rates, Heck said.

That said, the Fed has articulated its plans, and securities prices now reflect the expected impact on supply and demand, Heck said. Still, he said interest rates could fluctuate further if Fed leaders changed the way they talked about plans for mortgage-backed securities.

And if the FRB launches an aggressive sale of mortgage-backed securities, it “is likely to have a significant negative impact on interest rates,” Heck said, rather than shrinking the portfolio naturally. In other words, mortgage rates will be raised.

How about inflation?

Next is the X factor of inflation, especially how much inflation lenders and investors expect in the future.

According to Single, the Fed’s recent rate hike pushed the federal funds rate to the point that economists consider it a neutral territory, without stimulating or slowing the economy. But the Fed’s next few hike will “push enough interest rates into restricted territory,” said Single, “all of which will affect the economy as a whole.” ..

The Fed is trying to break the heat of inflation in the economy Without driving the country into recessionBut the usual indicator of financial health is Confusingly mixed..Gross domestic product is sluggish and consumer confidence is rising, but the unemployment rate is still low, corporate profits are generally strong, and consumer spending Continue to growAlthough slowly.

If the Federal Reserve manages to get rid of steam from inflation, it should lower mortgage rates, Heck said. In fact, he said, investors are showing signs that they believe inflation may have peaked.

But don’t expect interest rates to fall quickly, even if you turn the corner of inflation. “It will take a very long time in the market to fully allow such a big move,” Heck said.

This story was originally Los Angeles Times..

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