Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke left the federal funds rate unchanged Wednesday, steady at 5.25%. It’s the second month in a row that the fed decided to leaves rates as they are, and many feel this could be the end of interest rates hikes.
As the fed continues to ease inflation worries and bring the economy back down to earth, they’re hoping the current economic slowdown will be enough to settle nerves and keep rates steady for the months to come.
The fed warned of possible hikes as inflation risks remained, though many experts feel that the feds’ next move could be to lower rates. Of course that wouldn’t happen until next Spring at the earliest. The good news is that we are seeing a turnaround in the economy, and a measured one that should keep mortgage rates steady, if not lower and still historically excellent.
However the question remains whether the recent moves by the fed will save the floundering mortgage market, and better yet, if anything can save it.
The housing industry is still ice cold, and home sales and values will continue to fall. Mortgage applications continue to fall, and the amount of mortgage companies lingering from the refinance boom have saturated the present market. And though rates are historically low, applications are spread so thin that mortgage companies are finding increased competition and a smaller piece of the overall pie.
It looks like we may get a temporary bump in business, but the overall forecast is grim. Not dead, but grim. The bright side is that if we do see a turnaround in the coming months, the next mortgage boom could come sooner than we think.