Ben Bernanke Leaves Clues About The Future Of Mortgage Rates

Retail Sales August 2009On the 1-year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that the “recession is very likely over at this point”.

His comments were supported by a Retail Sales report for August that was much better-than-expected.

Equities improved on the day, mortgage markets worsened, and home affordability suffered.

The days of ultra-low mortgage rates may be coming to an end.

Since last September, mortgage bonds markets have been in Rally Mode.  As the Financial Crisis of 2008 worsened, investors fled the relatively risky world of stocks and moved dollars into safer investments like cash and bonds — including the mortgage-backed kind.

Risk aversion is common when market uncertainty exists but last year’s aversion was so strong that, by late-November, it had forced mortgage rates down to an all-time low.

Since November, however, rates have been on the rise.  Stronger economic data and a general feeling of optimism have helped stock markets recover and some of those gains are coming at the expense of low mortgage rates.

Therefore, if you’re wondering what mortgage rates might do going forward, listen to the words of the Federal Reserve Chairman. If he sees economic recovery ahead, it’s probably going to happen.

It should spell higher mortgage rates into 2010.

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