It was fairly clear that the table had been set for last week’s Federal Reserve meeting to result in a minimal rise in mortgage interest rates. Their Fed Funds rate directly influences the mortgage interest rates that banks observe. Since Madison real estate activity can be spurred or dampened by the monthly payment amounts Madison mortgage lenders offer applicants, this national story has meaningful local repercussions.
It wound up as a non-event that nonetheless spawned action—albeit in a minor way. In May, Chair Yellen had said that a rate increase would be “appropriate” over the summer months. In the lead-up to last week’s meeting, other Fed governors had strongly implied that it was now time for a slight Fed Funds bump.
Still, most commentators kept their prognostications vague; they had been vociferously anticipating a move for many cycles, only to hear serial postponements from the Fed. In addition to having been burnt before by Fed head fakes, there was also another reason why a no-go might happen this time around. Regardless of what the jawboning had been, economic and employment growth was still stuck in first gear—and a rate hike could retard improvement.
The commentators weren’t wrong to hold fire. Once again, the Fed did nothing (except make even more noise about an interest rate hike…later).
Yet, even so, the market forces that nudge mortgage interest rates one way or the other did seem to react. After the non-announcement, rates barely budged at first—but then continued steadily lower (the lowest in weeks, in fact). By week’s end, the Mortgage News Daily announced that the string of moves had brought mortgage interest rates into a “post-Brexit range”—similar to the conditions “that sent rates plunging toward all-time lows.”
The reasons last week were less than certain, although frustration with the Fed’s lack of coherence was fairly unanimous. CNBC interviewed big time investment manager Bill Gross, who said that investors were left “very confused” by the meeting’s outcome. He pointed to the likely rate raise that Yellen had emphasized at last month’s Jackson Hole speech, as well as to Fed Vice Chair Stan Fischer’s earlier assurance that there would be two hikes this year.
All this left Madison mortgage interest rate watchers to make their own assessments about what to expect for future conditions—most importantly, whether current favorable low interest rates could be counted on for long. There had been at least one indicator that optimists could welcome. Almost unnoticed was a footnote to the Fed’s announcement. Back in June, the Fed had predicted the lending rate to end 2016 at .9 percent. It now said the likely number would be .6%. That would result in Madison mortgage interest rates still comfortably in the historically low range—hardly a flashing red light for would-be borrowers.
Wherever the Fed heads eventually, it’s indisputable that right now Madison mortgage interest rates remain fetchingly low—creating rare opportunities for buyers and sellers both. Why not give me a call to explore how you can take advantage today?
Jen Stauter Kornstedt
HomeTeam4U-Stark Company Realtors
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