Thirty Year Fixed Rate Mortgages Should be as Low as 2.60 Percent Says Fed

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The Federal Reserve Bank of New York published a very interesting article on why 30 year fixed mortgage rates are hovering around 3.30 percent and are not as low as 2.60 percent, where they should be based on one measure. Since the Financial crisis of 2007 mortgage rates have made a series of record lows because of several factors including the Federal Reserve buying mortgage backed securities (MBS) to drive rates lower.

MBS are bundles of mortgage loans sold to investors, bundling mortgage loans and selling them to investors frees up capital so mortgage companies can make more loans.
Loan Type
Purchase    Refinance
Location
State/City    Zip Code
Loan Amt Points FICO % Down
  
$
30 yr fixed refi in 06101, All points, Credit score: 740+     Sort by:
Lender
APR
Rate
Cost & Fees
Notes
 
30 yr fixed Mortgage Loan from Better.com
Better.com
https://www.brimg.net/system/img/inst/9722_logo.gif
300000
Refinance
4.125
4.125
USD
Better.com Logo
NMLS # 330511
State Lic # ML-330511
at 0.000 pts
30 day lock rate
Est payment: $1,453.95
Fees in APR: None
Thank you for your quote. 
 
30 yr fixed mtg refi Mortgage Loan from UniBank for Savings
UniBank for Savings
300000
Refinance
4.536
4.500
USD
UniBank for Savings
4.536%
4/19/2019
4.500%
at 0.250 pts
60 day lock rate
Est payment: $1,520.06
Fees in APR: $500
 
 
30 yr fixed mtg refi Mortgage Loan from Liberty Bank
Liberty Bank
300000
Refinance
4.169
4.125
USD
Liberty Bank
4.169%
4/19/2019
4.125%
at 0.250 pts
60 day lock rate
Est payment: $1,453.95
Fees in APR: $814
 
 
30 yr fixed mtg refi Mortgage Loan from Union Savings Bank
Union Savings Bank
300000
Refinance
4.399
4.375
USD
Union Savings Bank
4.399%
4/12/2019
4.375%
at 0.000 pts
60 day lock rate
Est payment: $1,497.86
Fees in APR: $852
 
 
30 yr fixed mtg refi Mortgage Loan from Santander Bank, N.A.
Santander Bank, N.A.
300000
Refinance
4.557
4.500
USD
Santander Bank, N.A.
4.557%
4/19/2019
4.500%
at 0.000 pts
60 day lock rate
Est payment: $1,520.06
Fees in APR: $2,004
 
 
30 yr fixed mtg refi Mortgage Loan from The Washington Trust Company
The Washington Trust Company
300000
Refinance
4.155
4.125
USD
The Washington Trust Company
4.155%
4/16/2019
4.125%
at 0.000 pts
30 day lock rate
Est payment: $1,453.95
Fees in APR: $1,083
 
 
30 yr fixed mtg refi Mortgage Loan from LincolnWay Community Bank
LincolnWay Community Bank
300000
Refinance
4.155
4.125
USD
LincolnWay Community Bank
4.155%
4/16/2019
4.125%
at 0.000 pts
30 day lock rate
Est payment: $1,453.95
Fees in APR: $1,085
 
 
30 yr fixed mtg refi Mortgage Loan from The Guilford Savings Bank
The Guilford Savings Bank
300000
Refinance
4.291
4.250
USD
The Guilford Savings Bank
4.291%
4/19/2019
4.250%
at 0.250 pts
60 day lock rate
Est payment: $1,475.82
Fees in APR: $719
 
 
30 yr fixed mtg refi Mortgage Loan from Bank of America
Bank of America
300000
Refinance
4.365
4.250
USD
Bank of America
4.365%
4/15/2019
4.250%
at 0.903 pts
60 day lock rate
Est payment: $1,475.82
Fees in APR: $1,351
 
 
30 yr fixed mtg refi Mortgage Loan from TD Bank, NA
TD Bank, NA
300000
Refinance
4.154
4.125
USD
TD Bank, NA
4.154%
4/16/2019
4.125%
at 0.000 pts
45 day lock rate
Est payment: $1,453.95
Fees in APR: $1,043
 
 
30 yr fixed mtg refi Mortgage Loan from Citizens Bank, NA
Citizens Bank, NA
300000
Refinance
4.403
4.375
USD
Citizens Bank, NA
4.403%
4/19/2019
4.375%
at 0.000 pts
60 day lock rate
Est payment: $1,497.86
Fees in APR: $998
 
 
30 yr fixed mtg refi Mortgage Loan from First National Bank of Omaha
First National Bank of Omaha
300000
Refinance
4.575
4.500
USD
First National Bank of Omaha
4.575%
4/19/2019
4.500%
at 0.625 pts
60 day lock rate
Est payment: $1,520.06
Fees in APR: $752
 
 
30 yr fixed mtg refi Mortgage Loan from United Bank
United Bank
300000
Refinance
4.276
4.250
USD
United Bank
4.276%
4/16/2019
4.250%
at 0.000 pts
30 day lock rate
Est payment: $1,475.82
Fees in APR: $911
 
 
30 yr fixed mtg refi Mortgage Loan from Savings Bank of Danbury
Savings Bank of Danbury
300000
Refinance
4.397
4.375
USD
Savings Bank of Danbury
4.397%
4/19/2019
4.375%
at 0.000 pts
60 day lock rate
Est payment: $1,497.86
Fees in APR: $790
 
 

Mortage Data Provided by Bankrate.com Many lenders have different rates on their own Websites than those posted on Bankrate.com. In order to get the Bankrate.com rate, please identify yourself as a Bankrate.com customer. If you believe that you have received an inaccurate quote or are otherwise not satisfied with the services provided to you by the lender you choose, please click here.

The rates above were collected by Bankrate.com on the dates specified. Rates are subject to change without notice and may vary from branch to branch. Rate/APR and terms may vary based on the creditworthiness of the individual and the extent to which the loan differs from the one used for Bankrate.com quotes. For criteria used in surveys of rates above, click here. These quotes are from banks, thrifts, and brokers, some of whom have paid for a link to their own Web site, where you can find additional information.






The Fed is buying MBS to provide more liquidity to the market to drive MBS prices lower which in turn will drive mortgage rates lower as well. Both mortgage rates and yields on MBS have moved lower since the Fed's policy was enacted but the declines in the latter have been more pronounced.  

In fact, if the declines in the secondary market (MBS) were passed through to loan rates one-for-one, the average mortgage rate would now be around 2.60 percent. Rates in this week's Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) are averaging 3.34 percent, almost 75 basis points higher.

The chart to the right shows the rate spread between the primary mortgage market and secondary mortgage market. The spread difference has increased 70 basis points to 115 basis points today from around 45 basis points in 2007. This begs the question why mortgage rates today are not at 2.60 percent instead of where they are at 3.3o percent.

Before we get into why current mortgage rates haven't fallen as much in the primary market as they have in the secondary market, I'd like to first point out that there are some lenders quoting current mortgage rates only about 25 basis points higher than 2.60 percent. The lowest fixed 30 year mortgage rates we have seen on our rate table the past couple of months is at 2.875 percent. Granted, to get this low rate you have to pay points but nonetheless, the rate is available and only slightly above where rates should be according to the New York Fed.

There are several reasons why the spread between the two markets is increasing, including the fact that yields on MBS can be directly observed and are computed under a number of assumptions that according to Fuster and Lucca, "are particularly sensitive to misspecification in the current environment."

Another main factor is the spread doesn't take into account the guarantee fees on loans charged by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, which have increased from 20 to 25 basis points before 2008 to about 50 basis points today. If you just factor in the fees that are charged by the GSE's, the rate difference between the lowest rates available right now and the secondary market rates, the spread difference makes sense.
 
Author: Brian McKay
January 6th, 2013