Market News March 18, 2010

Are mortgage rates on the rise?

Despite being just a few weeks from the much anticipated end of government purchasing of mortgage-backed securities (MBS), mortgage rates remain steady.  30-year fixed FHA loans were also available at 4.75 percent with a standard .07 to 1 point origination.  Jumbo 30-year fixed rates, for true jumbo mortgages exceeding conforming jumbo loan limits, remain at 5.625.

Are steady, low mortgage rates indicative of a “calm before the storm”? I am still forecasting a rise in long-term fixed mortgage rates to take place when government MBS purchases stop at the end of this month. However, one thing is clear to me and that is that nobody, including Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke, knows exactly what's going to happen to mortgage rates, which move opposite MBS prices, when the purchasing stops. I believe that is why the Federal Reserve has left the door open to potentially re-starting the purchase of mortgage-backed securities if needed.