Trends in Mortgage Interest Rates: Up or Down?

The end of the year brings an onslaught of predictions in fields ranging from sports to economics. In the world of real estate and income property investing, a number of lists compiled by real estate professionals and economists are emerging, drawing on past and present conditions to provide a look toward the future. Although those forecasts come with a measure of uncertainty, investors can find clues to making the best choices under current conditions. One hot

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topic on these year-end trends lists is the future of mortgage interest rates.

For the past year or so, mortgage interest rates have been holding at or near historically low numbers, dipping to below 3% for some types of loans. These rates are not entirely a natural product of the markets, though; they come in part as the result of an effort by the Federal Reserve to stimulate the housing market in the aftermath of the massive housing collapse of 2008, when record numbers of subprime mortgage loans crashed, sending the housing market into crisis.

Now, trend observers such as Fiscal Times and the Urban Land Institute report that these unprecedented low interest rates can’t be sustained, and home buyers need to expect a rise in mortgage interest rates beginning in 2013. They warn that although this upswing in rates may initially

be relatively minor, rising to 4 to 4,5% in the early part of the year, it signals the start of a swing back to higher rates that should continue for some time.

But crystal balls can sometimes be cloudy. These reports come in the wake of reports that the Federal Reserve is planning a new round of buying mortgage backed securities in an effort to pump more vitality into a housing market that’s still wobbly despite in increase in new home starts and a decline in the number of foreclosures. Back in September 2012, the Fed announced plans to buy up about $40 billion in these securities per month, and the new plan adds an additional $45 billion to that figure every month.

With around $85 billion monthly in mortgage backed bond purchases coming alongside the general fluctuations of the market and the treasury bonds that typically secure mortgage debt, reports from the last months of 2012 suggest that rates are likely to remain relatively low until around 2015 – although they may not dip to the current rock-bottom lows of today’s market.

For heroic investors in income property, or those planning to start investing with Jason Hartman’s system for creating wealth from income property, this means that a fixed-rate mortgage at the current low rates can be a major asset for the future of the investment. The future of mortgage interest rates may not be crystal clear, but for now the record low rates are a reality, creating some ideal conditions for starting a career in investing in income property. (Top image: Flickr/Rosario1)

The American Monetary Association Team


 

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