Why are Mortgage Rates so high?

Yes, interest rates are rising and with that so are mortgage rates, but the 30-year Fixed Rate Mortgage (FRM) seems to be about 0.5% higher than I would expect.

First, current rates:

In my recent article The Federal Reserve and Mortgage Rates I explained the link between the FRM and the 10-year Treasury yield (10T). The difference – the spread – has average around 1.7% over time, but with significant fluctuations during periods pf stress.

Here is the chart highlighting the spread at the time of Federal Funds rate changes – and as of this week: (more…)

U.S. Takes Step to Regulate Cryptocurrency Market

Cryptocurrency home sales barely have a toehold, and a new exec order from Pres. Biden may change the rules. The order suggests regulation and a U.S.-owned version.

Over 100 countries are exploring or piloting Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) – a digital form of a country’s sovereign currency.

“The rise in digital assets creates an opportunity to reinforce American leadership in the global financial system and at the technological frontier, but also has substantial implications for consumer protection, financial stability, national security and climate risk,” according to the Executive Order.

The Order lays out a national policy for digital assets across six key priorities: consumer and investor protection; financial stability; illicit finance; U.S. leadership in the global financial system and economic competitiveness; financial inclusion; and responsible innovation.

Executive Order key points


Mortgage rates back to 3% – again

The 30-year Fixed Rate Mortgage ticked back up to 3% this week. I re-read Are Mortgage Rates headed Up or Down? which I published in June and I still think it summarises the situation quite well. Hence I have included the link rather than repeating the arguments.

The proximate cause  for the increase in mortgage rates this week was the increase in the yield on the US Treasury 10-year Note. The increase started last week (after the Freddie Mac weekly survey, which is collected from Monday-Wednesday) when the Federal Reserve (Fed) confirmed that, if current trends continue, it will start to reduce its purchases of both Treasuries and Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) soon and aim to end purchases by the middle of 2022.

At the same time, we saw a rate increase in Norway – the first in Europe- following earlier increases in Brazil and South Korea. And while the Fed continues to state that it will not consider actual rate increases (I am not sure why they refer to it as “lift off”- sounds like rocket-speed increases which it will not be) until after the end of the bond purchases, investors noticed a shift in the number of members forecasting a rate increase in 2022 rather than 2023.

And inflation continues to run hot. The Fed thinks this is transitory, but many others fear that it will be sustained forcing the Fed to raise rates sooner than it currently anticipates.

The Numbers (more…)

Hello sub 3% Mortgages – again

This week’s drop below 3% – again – reminded me that the only one thing more fraught than commenting on mortgage rates is trying to predict where rates are headed. (see below for some of my posts about mortgage rates.)
After rising steadily from 2.65% at the beginning of the year to 3.18% by the end of March, the 30-year Fixed Rate Mortgage (FRM) has backed off again and this week the rate dropped back under 3%.

Mortgage rates
Freddie Mac weekly survey