Mortgage Rates – Are They on the Rise?

The recent crisis in the housing market resulted in millions of people losing their homes because they could not afford the sudden increase in mortgage rate. The Federal Government, recognizing the collapse of the housing market, stepped in and implemented measures to stop the decline and help people stay in their homes. The Federal Reserve took action by reducing interest rates. In 2009, millions of homeowners took advantage of the incentives and refinanced their homes and purchased homes with low mortgage interest rates. The results have been positive leading many people to wonder when mortgage rates will start to rise.

In December, a few signs have indicated that mortgage rates may be starting to increase. Most experts agree that 2010 will likely see economic recovery which will lead to an increase in these rates. For instance, mortgage rates that were once at about 4% saw an increase of a rate on a 30-year fixed loan to 5.14 percent in December. The cost of variable rate mortgages for homes also increased. Many experts believe that rates may increase to 6 percent in 2010.

Because of the concerns about rising rates even though the economy is still in recovery, banks and the Federal Reserve still plan on keeping mortgage rates low for some time; at least until the economic recovery is making a more positive impact and the housing market is no longer struggling. If you are considering refinancing a mortgage or buying a home, this may be a good time to take advantage of the low mortgage interest rates. Most experts agree that these low mortgage rates will not last much past the first half of 2010 because they forecast the economy starting to rebound. Many also say that if people wait too long, they miss out on a great mortgage rate.

In the last few months, there has been an increased demand for homes. This is due to Government tax incentives for first-time buyers and the Federal Reserve efforts to keep interest rates low by buying up mortgage-securities. Because of the demand and the Government carefully watching for a housing recovery, it is expected that the Fed will stop purchasing mortgage bonds within about three months. The result will be a rise in interest rates. As a result, this may be the best time to lock in a low interest rate mortgage.

Another indicator of whether mortgage rates will rise is bank lending. In previous months, banks have been more restrictive with their lending practices which have made it more difficult for people to acquire a mortgage. As the economy recovers, banks are expected to loosen their lending standards, making it easier for people to get loans. This will likely cause an increase in mortgage rates. Lending is currently still rigid, which is one reason why rates for a 30-year home loan recently declined. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was recently 5.09, down from 5.14 percent a week earlier.

A strong economic recovery is essential to getting the housing market back on track. Because most financial forecasters expect only a few more months of low mortgage rates, this may be the best time to take advantage of these low rates and refinance your mortgage or purchase a new home.