RateWatch - Drifting, but Which Way?
Markets: Yesterday was a good day up, and today is down only slightly, so it appears we might hold our gains. We gained 65 bps yesterday and have lost back 16 so far today, which on net is pretty good. For the uninitiated, there is a strong correlation between mortgage-backed securities (mbs) and mortgage interest rates. When mbs rise, rates fall, but the correlation is not 1-to-1. A 50bp move in mbs corresponds to at least a .25% improvement in rate price, which means about .125% better rate (see detailed explanation here). Usually. Not always. Not for every program. Not for every lender. Professional mortgage guys get paid for their services, and there's a good reason for that.
Analysis: Markets liked Ben Bernanke's testimony yesterday. He's forecasting more unemployment, and the economy hitting a bottom here and starting to climb late this year or early next. But he's also telling us that he sees a slow climb, with no huge bounce, especially in real estate. This is what is called an "L" recession, where things fall and then plateau at the new, lower level. I think that's a good analysis. I expect the same, for a good while, until US households shed more debt and build more cash. Right now it is the cash dearth that is starving the economy. That dearth has been created by huge appetites for debt. Eventually, all debt payments come a'cropper, and that's what is happening now. It will pass, if we're smart, and if the government doesn't insist on a recovery according to some electoral timetable.
Which is why I'd get my own house in order as fast as possible. We're not all that smart, and the government always acts according to electoral timetables. The basics still work, though, people. Save some, pay off your debt, find someone to help and help them. That's the way through.