Fortunately, I refinanced my home mortgage while Trump was still President. When Biden was installed as President, the 30-year mortgage rate was 2.88% (according to Bankrate). It has now risen to 5.25%.
The Federal Reserve is now expected to raise their target rate as much as 50 basis points at the next meeting on May 4, 2022. This chart shows the anticipated rate hikes coming our way, peaking in summer 2023.
Fed Funds Futures are pricing in a 50 bps rise at the May meeting.
The good news is that the US Treasury actives curve is upward sloping, but is showing fatigue in the forward rates between 7Y and 10Y.
On the hard asset front, precious metals are up over 1% with silver and platinum leading the way.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates continued to climb this week as the key 30-year loan rate reached 5% for the first time in more than a decade amid persistent high inflation.
The average 5% rate on the 30-year mortgage was up from 4.72% last week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday. The average rates in recent months have been showing the fastest pace of increases since 1994. By contrast, a year ago the 30-year rate stood at 3.04%.
The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, popular among those refinancing their homes, jumped to 4.17% from 3.91% last week.
Yet The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet keeps on growing.
With 8.5% YoY inflation, REAL average hourly earnings growth fell to -3% YoY.
And with The Fed intent on extinguishing their part of the inflation, Bankrate’s 30Y mortgage rate rose to 5.14%.
Energy is the biggest culprit (fuel oil up 70.1% YoY) thanks to the double whammy of 1) Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and 2) Biden’s restrictions on oil and natural gas production. Food at home is up 10% YoY.
Here is a colorful chart of MoM growth in prices.
The Taylor Rule model now says that The Fed Funds Target Rate should be 11.90%. Hence, Fed Stimulypto is still in place with the signal that rates will increase.
How about WTI Crude and Brent Crude soaring over 4% today?
Once again, the Four Horsemen of the Inflation Apocalypse (Biden, Powell, Pelosi, Schumer) overstimulated the economy and financial markets with excessive monetary stimulus (Powell) and excessive Federal spending (Biden, Pelosi, Schumer) where demand soared for products and supply naturally hasn’t caught up.
To make a long story short, a 40-year mortgage, by stretching the payment out from 30 to 40 years, means that the mortgage mortgage payment declines from $1,687 to $1,504.
Given that the US Treasury yield curve only goes out to 30 years, lenders (and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) will have to use the US Dollar Swaps curve to price mortgages. And since the swaps curve is downward sloping, we could see 50-year mortgages at a lower rate than 30-year mortgages, ceteris paribus.
But with The Fed planning on taking away the monetary punchbowl, mortgage rates are rising making housing even more unaffordable.
But most things are not equal. The 40-year mortgage results in a slower paydown of the mortgage, increasing the lender’s exposure to property value declines. A 50-year mortgage would even be worse.
But the real problem with the 40-year mortgage is that it can lead to even MORE unaffordable housing. Yes, going from 30-year to 40-year mortgages lowers the mortgage payment, but a 40-year mortgage could increase the demand for housing. And since we already have soaring home prices since Covid (thanks to Fed monetary policy AND Federal government stimulus), we could actually see a worsening of the housing bubble). Particularly since REAL average earnings are declining.
What a mess that has been created by the government’s pursuit of “affordable housing.” Ideally, the Federal government could help raise household earnings through lowering of Federal tax rates, but the Biden Administration wants to raise taxes. Alternatively, lenders (and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) could lower lending standards (e.g., lowering required credit scores), or reduce downpayments to 0%. Lowering credit standards and reducing required downpayments are also inflationary and pose serious potential problems with default risk.
Not to mention that a 40-year mortgage increases the duration risk for owner’s of the 40-year mortgage.
And don’t forget that local governments frown on multifamily (apartment) construction (the Not In My Backyard [NIMBY] problem contributing to rising housing prices.
2022 has been a tough year for bond investors and the mortgage industry.
Doubleline’s Jeff Gundlach observed that the 2 Year Treasury yield is up 125 bp over the past month or so. I commented that the 2 Year Treasury Yield is up 179 bp since December 31, 2021 and the 30-year mortgage rate is also up 179 bp since the end of 2021. Yes, 2022 has been a dismal year for bonds and the mortgage market.
The ICE BofA MOVE index, a yield curve weighted index of the normalized implied volatility on 1-month Treasury options, has risen in 2022 along with the 30-year mortgage rate as the normally dormant Federal Reserve finally waking-up and trying to fight inflation.
Mortgage demand backs off due to anticipated Fed rate hikes.
The latest Fed Dots Plot reveals that Fed Open Market Committee members are expecting Fed Funds rate increases in 2023, but remaining the same in 2024 (FOMC median projection). Then falling in the longer term.
With home prices and rents soaring with Federal Reserve stimulus, let’s see how home prices and rents react to The Fed raising rates. My models forecast a slowdown in late summer 2022 to 6% home price growth YoY as The Fed actually implements their quantitative tightening.
Inflation? CPI YoY is the highest in 40 years and FLEXIBLE Core CPI is 20% and the highest since … Lyndon B. Johnson was President (the flexible price index only goes back to 1968). Actually, Flexible Price inflation is even higher than it was under LBJ. Perhaps this is one of those accomplishments that Biden staffer are complaining never gets discussed.
On a side note, Sheila Bair has stepped down as CEO of government mortgage giant Fannie Mae.
As the US Treasury 2-year yield hits 2.507% (up from 0.128% when Biden was installed as President) and the number of Fed rate hikes over by February 2023 hits 9.6, Bankrate’s 30-year mortgage rate breached the 5% mark at 5.04%.
The most recent data from on existing home sales show YoY sales in negative territory as The Fed begins in monetary fireball tightening.
St Louis Fed’s Bullard said The Fed is “behind the curve.” Ya think??
The Fed’s minutes from the most recent meeting indicates that The Fed will shedding $95 billion a month from it swollen balance sheet. At almost $9 trillion mostly populated by Treasuries will be the first asset to run-off the balance sheet (there is almost $1 trillion of Treasuries maturing in 2022 and $856 billion maturity in 2023, etc), The Fed plans to shrink the balance sheet while, at the same, raising The Fed Funds target rate from it near zero levels.
The Federal Reserve has ignoring rules like the Taylor Rule since the financial crisis of 2008-2009, but seemingly are paying attention to the Taylor Rule because of 7.9% inflation. The Taylor Rule is suggesting a 20.42% Fed Funds target while the current target rate is 0.50%. Now THAT would be a real shock to the economy.
Mortgage applications are going down as expectations of monetary tightening send mortgage rates soaring.
Mortgage applications decreased 6.3 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending April 1, 2022.
The Refinance Index decreased 10 percent from the previous week and was 62 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent compared with the previous week and was 9 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
Bankrate’s 30-year mortgage rate rose only slightly today to 4.86%, but the 30-year mortgage rate has risen 68.75% and a fixed-rate mortgage payment has risen 27.25% under Biden.
The rest of the story? The adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) remain at only 6.8% of loan origination volume despite being almost 150 basis points lower in rate (4.90 FRM versus 3.38% 5/1 ARM).
Meanwhile, US Treasury yields rose again with the 10-year yield rising almost 10 basis points … again.
And President Obama spoke at The White House defending his healthcare initiative, The Affordable Care Act. It seems that Nancy Pelosi, Amy Klobuchar, Jame Clyburn and the others were thrilled to see Obama back in The White House. So much so that Biden was abandoned on stage and left to wander aimlessly around.
CoreLogic’s Home Price Insights revealed that home prices rose 20% YoY in February despite REAL average hourly earnings declining -2.678% YoY. THAT is euphoria! Or Stimulypto, as I like to call it.
No, The Federal Reserve still hasn’t removed its staggering monetary stimulus. Notice that M2 Money Stock is still growing at a torrid 11% pace.
20% YoY home price growth in February? CoreLogic has increased their forecast of home price growth to 5%, likely because The Federal Reserve is imitating a sloth in removing its monetary Stimulypto.
Of course, there are other assets growing at lightning speeds. US Regular gasoline prices are UP 75.4% under Biden. Foodstuffs are UP 57.2% since Biden was installed as President. At least ground beef is only up 16.8% while the fine wine index is up 25.1%.
Inflation under President Biden (aka, Bidenflation) has hit 7.9%, the highest in 40 years. And no Joe, the inflation surge was well underway before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
As The Federal Reserve is allegedly going to try to fight inflation by raising their target rate, the 30-year mortgage rate has risen from 2.88% on Biden’s inauguration to 4.56% today.
The surge in mortgage rates from 2.88% to 4.56% represents a 58.3% increase in mortgage rates under Biden. That translates to an increase in the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) payment of 23%. Apparently Biden-Powell (not to be confused with Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts) are not interested in keeping homes affordable for most Americans.
I summarize the predicament facing Americans in the following chart. Home prices were growing at a 19% YoY pace in December (Case-Shiller updates will be available tomorrow for January). Inflation is growing at 7.9% and M2 Money continues to grow.
US fertilizer prices are up 166% under Biden while regular gasoline prices are up 77% under Biden. But to be fair, fertilizer and gasoline prices jumped with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Fertilizer prices were up 66% under Biden BEFORE Russia invaded Ukraine and regular gasoline prices were up 50%.
Meanwhile, back at the fixed-income ranch, the US Treasury 10Y-2Y curve has flattened to 14.5 BPS as Fed Funds Futures signal 9 rate hikes over the coming year.
And the US Treasury 10Y-5Y curve continues to invert.
In short, Biden and Congress are anti-fossil fuel, pro-renewable energy helping to drive up energy prices and inflation PRIOR to Russia invading Ukraine. Powell and The Federal Reserve are trying to fight what Biden and Congress did with creating energy-related inflation.