May 26, 2018

Bernanke: QE Keeping Mortgage Rates Low

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Bernanke: QE Keeping Mortgage Rates Low

The Fed’s Quantitative Easing program, dubbed QE, is reducing mortgage rates to a “credibly low” level, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said during a speech at University of Michigan. 

The Fed has vowed to buy up mortgage-backed securities at $40 billion per month to keep interest rates low until the job market improves. 

"Taken together, these actions should maintain downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative," according to a Federal Open Market Committee report.

With low mortgage rates, home owners and buyers are unlocking big savings in financing a home purchase. For example, Tim Iacano of Iacano Research explained in a recent TIME magazine article how big of difference low rates are making in boosting home buyers’ purchasing power. He notes that a buyer could purchase a house worth $280,000 and have a $1,100 per month mortgage payment if he’s able to get a low mortgage rate of 3.3 percent. 

“Even if mortgage rates moved back up to their 20-year average rate of 6.5 percent (what many thought were  simply unbelievable rates when they first dropped that low last decade), that same $1,100 mortgage payment would finance a home purchase of just $193,000, not the current $279,000,” Iacano notes. “The difference between these two prices is nearly 50 percent!”

Source: “Bernanke: QE Successfully Brings Down Mortgage Rates,” HousingWire (Jan. 14, 2013) and “Is the Housing Market Just an Illusion Created by the Federal Reserve?” TIME (Dec. 7, 2012)