Fed Meeting

2018-01-02T18:44:35+00:00 December 14th, 2016|Categories: Special Update|Tags: , , , , , |

As widely expected, the Fed raised the federal funds rate by 25 basis points. Unfortunately for MBS, Fed officials also raised their outlook for the pace of future rate hikes. They now forecast three rate hikes in 2017, one more than previously projected. The faster pace was viewed as negative for mortgage rates. But why? The purpose for raising the federal funds rate is to keep inflation from rising above the Fed's target of 2%. This should be a good thing for mortgage rates. Part of the reason for the adverse reaction stems from a more direct effect the Fed has on mortgage rates. The Fed owns over $1.7 trillion of the agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that it purchased during its quantitative easing (QE) days. The Fed keeps the balance of MBS around that level by buying new MBS to replace that which pays off. The Fed is currently the buyer of approximately 25% of all newly issued MBS. This added demand from the Fed drives MBS prices higher and mortgage rates lower. The Fed says that it will not allow its holdings of MBS to decline until "normalization of the level of the federal funds rate is well under [...]

Special Update: What Will the Fed Do?

2017-12-20T17:34:12+00:00 September 17th, 2013|Categories: Special Update|Tags: , , , , , , , |

What is likely to happen to mortgage rates tomorrow after the Fed statement is released? The best answer is that it will be extremely volatile. The majority view is that the Fed will begin to taper its bond purchase program, but the reaction in the mortgage market will depend on the details. The first question is the size of the reduction. Investors expect the Fed to cut its monthly purchases from $85 billion to around $70 billion. It is also uncertain how the reduction will be split between MBS and Treasuries. We would not be surprised if the Fed cut only Treasury purchases and left MBS purchases unchanged, since several Fed officials have stated that MBS purchases provide a greater boost to the economy than Treasury purchases. In addition, it will be important to hear how the Fed plans to determine future reductions. Of course, there is no guarantee that the Fed will announce a taper on Wednesday at all. Investors have taken positions based on their expectations for the Fed statement, and there likely will be a large reaction tomorrow afternoon following its release.