New Conforming Loan Limits for 2018 are Higher Than Expected

11/29/2017 | Casey Fleming |  The Federal Housing Finance Agency – the FHFA – disclosed the new conforming loan limits for 2018 yesterday, and they went up further than most analysts expected!  It’s great news, as it opens the door to homeownership to more people. Historical Context Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the agencies) were...

Interest Rates Settle Down in August

I’ve written many times that interest rates jump up and settle down.  What I mean by that is that when news spooks the market investors and lenders immediately seek a higher yield to compensate for a sharp increase in perceived risk.  But when markets stabilize, competition invariably pushes interest rates down. August has given us...

Why Congress Can’t Sell Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

8/5/2017 | Casey Fleming | Politicians make a lot of hay talking about privatizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  These formerly private companies were taken over by the government under the Bush administration shortly after the financial crisis began. Depending on whom you believe, the purpose was either to put a halt to irresponsible lending...

Mortgage Rates Rise Before the Thunder Moon

7/8/2017 | Casey Fleming  Last week I predicted that rates would remain generally stable for the rest of the week, barring unexpected news.  Well, we had some unexpected news leading into the week of the Thunder Moon. The Thunder Moon is the full moon in July when thunderstorms are common in the United States.  It...

Anticipation: Will the Feds Raise Interest Rates?

6/13/2017 | Casey Fleming Last week I wrote that we were almost certainly going to see the Feds raise short-term rates when they meet this week on Wednesday, June 14th. I predicted that mortgage rates would rise starting Thursday in anticipation of what the market would do in response to whatever action the Feds took. If...

Interest Rates at 2017 Lows

6/5/2017 | Casey Fleming In April I wrote that interest rates had slid down to their lowest point in 2017. After a short, small, steady move up they have slowly settled back down to April levels. What’s happening? What drives interest rates? As a reminder, long-term trends in interest rates tend to move according to...

The Feds Mentioned the Elephant in the Room

4/7/2017 | Casey Fleming As I wrote last weekend the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve (The Feds as they are known in the hood) was going to release the minutes of its March 14th meeting yesterday, April 6th, and the contents could move the market.  As it turns out, there was...

Are Interest Rates Coming Back Down?

Mortgage interest rates rose rapidly beginning the week before the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve met on March 14th and 15th.  As expected, the Feds raised short-term rates, and that spurred a rally in mortgage interest rates almost immediately. They had come up a long way, however, so they had a long way...

Interest Rates Behaved This Week

Interest rates pretty much flatlined this week.  As I wrote last week it was a busy week for economic reports, but they pretty much all came in very close to where the consensus of a survey of economists thought they would.  Most showed a very slight surprise to the upside, which is not good for...

Plan to Privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

I’ve been writing for several years that lawmakers have been making a lot of noise – but no progress – on plans to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If you recall, the Bush administration forced the government takeover of the agencies in 2008, saying that their loan loss reserves were too low to sustain...