Saturday, July 1, 2017

Mortgage Interest Rates Defy Expectations – Five Reasons Rates Remain at Historic Lows


Can you count on mortgage interest rates to remain low for the next year?

With the country experiencing “Full employment,” Fed rates up 2X in 2017 with more expected increases to come, the stock market flying ever upward, we see mortgage interest rates drop.
At the beginning of 2017 and through the first quarter, pretty much every pundit has predicted increases in mortgage rates.

So which way will they go in the rest of 2017 and into 2018? Is this a good time to buy a house, given the high prices and low interest rates?

Here are the five key things effecting interest rates. You might also be able to use an understanding of the trends related to these five factors to help predict the future:

1.     Bonds are the key:  As is obvious by this chart, both 15 and 30 year mortgage interest rates move almost exactly with treasuries. And since treasuries are basically risk free, the premium for a mortgage is based on higher risk with 30 year being more risky than z 15 year. As treasuries move, mortgage rates move. 

2.     Inflation matters: Treasuries and other bonds track very closely with inflation. When investors risk capital, they want a “real” return. That is, they want to be compensated for lending their money at a rate something above inflation. To get $1.02 next year for $1.00 invested this year isn’t smart if the cost of living makes that $1.02 only worth last year’s $1.00. As you can see on the chart, inflation tracks with treasuries and all long term bonds.
3.     Investment options: This is a more difficult item to measure. But consider this. 50 years ago, an investor was probably deciding between real estate, commodities, stocks, and bonds. Today, that same investor has dozens of countries around the world offering bonds, and thousands of companies worldwide offering stocks and bonds. In addition, you are more likely to buy a property in a foreign land.  With all those options, the buyer should be in control, forcing yields up. But, the demand has also increased with pension funds, sovereign nations, and others vying for the same investments, driving prices down. Right now the demand is keeping yields low
4.     Demand for mortgages: Like any other products, mortgage companies are subject to the market place supply/demand curve. Mortgage companies and the mortgage departments at major banks don’t make money sitting on mortgages, they make money originating or selling mortgages. Therefore, if consumers aren’t lining up for the product, the price is going to drop. Right now, demand is very low, as home turnover is light, and refinancing is extremely low. Thus mortgage companies must drop the price to get the business.
5.     The Fed: The Federal Reserve can tighten or loosen money (and thereby affect interest rates) by changing the Fed Funds Rate, buying or selling Federal Reserve Assets. These two efforts by the Fed sometimes have immediate affects on other interest rates, but it is the least important in how it affects mortgages.

These five factors make clear why mortgage interest rates have remained low, and have even fallen in the last few weeks. What about the future? Let’s take a quick look at each of the above five factors.

1.     Bond movement seems unlikely. The economy is still moving up, but in an anemic way. If business picked up to 2.5 or 3% annual growth, bonds would likely increase yields.
2.     Inflation is non-existent. Even with “full employment,” there is no pressure on hourly wages. This may be because many in the labor force are underemployed in hours, skills, or both. There is no evidence of commodity inflation and oil/energy seems headed lower.
3.     Wealth appears to be growing and the options for great yields continue to be a chimera. The aging of most populations in the world and especially in the US would account for much of this wealth growth. It is also clear that home value increases and the stock market records are producing huge amounts of wealth that need reinvestment.
4.     Mortgage demand is unlikely to rebound. There are few existing homes for sale in most US markets and very little new construction. Most who would refinance to get lower rates have already done this. Refinancing for cash, consolidation, etc., seems to be at a very low ebb. That could create more demand in the future if homeowners decide to use some of the equity they’ve amassed.
5.     The Fed is promising to continue to tighten, and over time this has to have an effect on all interest rates. The Fed would like to see inflation at around 2% which would also likely impact current low interest rates. So far, however, the economy has been very resistant to the Fed’s efforts.

If you are planning to buy a home or investment property, and mortgage interest rates are a consideration, you probably have some time to get the super low rates of the past several years. As this is written, rates have dropped to 3.625% for 30 year and 3.250% for 15 year. Those rates are for a jumbo loan and an A+ borrower who is purchasing for occupancy.  If not a purchase, the rate may be 0.125% higher. 

Bill Rayman is more than a traditional mortgage broker. Bill is a financial consultant with regard to mortgages. He will help you get the very best mortgage for your specific needs. He is also extremely resourceful if you have issues that might typically get in the way of a mortgage. Call Bill today to discuss options. As a mortgage broker, Bill is only paid if you get your mortgage, so he’s going to work very hard to insure a positive result.

Bill Rayman Home Mortgages
12121 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 350
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: (424) 354-5325