A couple of years ago, if a homeowner was offered a jumbo-sized mortgage for a home in Washington for 4.375% they would beg for the loan to be locked. In fact, the customer would probably think the mortgage loan officer was misquoting his or her rate sheet. But that was 2009. Today clients sometimes let greed take over. A lot of borrowers are taking their time in making the decision to move forward in anticipation of even lower rates.
Remember 2008 – 2009? The sky was falling. Banks were failing by the hundreds. The Treasury Department headed by Henry Paulson, formerly of Goldman Sachs, launched the TARP program under President George W. Bush in order to stabilize the financial system.
Fast forward to the recent midterm elections. Democrats lost the House to the Republicans because many voters believed that among other things that the Democrats were the architects of TARP and that TARP did not work. TARP did pass with the help of Democrats and TARP did salvage the banking system. In fact the Government may make a profit from TARP.
The country is climbing out of the deep recession slowly. The recovery is proving to be a slow one that will take time. In reaction to the slow pace of the recovery, the Federal Reserve Bank announced “Quantitative Easing 2,” or “QE2,” which entails the buying of $600 billion dollars of Treasury bills in order to stimulate the economy by keeping Treasury prices at lower levels. With the stimulus program, the Feds also are attempting to keep interest rates down.
In early November, before the Treasury started its pre-announced buyback, rates reached the lowest levels that the markets have seen since the 1950s.
Unfortunately, even when interest rates hit new lows, perspective mortgage clients can let greed take over. Some folks are always hoping for still lower rates. There are a few reasons why rates have moved higher since the Treasury buyback was announced.
First, everyone on Wall Street and elsewhere knew what the Federal Reserve and its Chairman Ben Bernanke were planning on doing. The prices of the 10-year Treasuries and those of the mortgage market reflected the anticipated program. Others are talking about the potential inflationary effects of a devalued dollar.
Since the buy back program was announced, the rate on the 10-Year Treasures has gone up and interest rates have also ticked up.
Interest rates should stay in a relatively narrow range for the near term. If you can save hundreds of dollars now, go ahead and pull the interest rate trigger. Your next worry will be how to spend the money you will be saving.
Bill Starrels lives in Georgetown and is a mortgage loan officer. He can be reached at 703 625 7355 or by email, bill.Starrels@gmail.com