For millions of Americans who were underwater on their mortgages, the tide is finally receding. That’s good news for the housing market, of course, and for the U.S. economy as a whole, as housing is a major engine of the economy. Housing not only generates construction jobs, one of the hottest job sectors in the…
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting ended today (Wednesday) with word that the Fed plans to the stay the course on QE for now, backtracking from earlier hints it might begin tapering this fall.
Don’t expect a definitive answer from this week’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on when the Fed will begin tapering its massive quantitative easing program.
Instead, the focus will be on the FOMC’s statement, which will be scoured for clues about when scaling back QE3 could begin.
Think of the housing market as a ladder with first-time homebuyers at the bottom and homeowners on the upper rungs, with homes priced higher as you proceed upward.
Where will higher mortgage rates raise monthly mortgage payments most?
These three charts from the real estate site Zillow.com depict how higher mortgage rates will affect monthly mortgage payments in different markets throughout the United States.
The charts are based on the percentage of income homeowners spend on their monthly payments, with a pre-housing bubble baseline of 20% of median household income.
The first chart shows how much more expensive than historical norms monthly payments will become in six of the priciest metropolitan areas when mortgage rates climb to 5%, assuming homes appreciate in line with Zillow projections.
Monthly payments in the San Jose metro area will increase the most (22% over the baseline) followed by Los Angeles (19%), San Diego (14%), San Francisco (11%), Portland, OR (7%) and Denver (1%).
If you’re looking to profit from a long-term investment, you’re probably not considering adding gold mining stocks to your portfolio.
How much do higher mortgage rates reduce home sales?
Call it Ben Bernanke’s Alan Greenspan moment.
As his predecessor as Federal Reserve chairman had often done, Bernanke sent decidedly mixed or unclear signals today (Wednesday) in testimony before Congress.
When Ben Bernanke speaks, the gold market listens – closely.
The Federal Reserve chairman’s comments late Wednesday that the central bank would continue its QE3 economic stimulus for now drove gold prices higher, and they’re likely to keep rising.
There’s considerable dissension within the ranks at the Federal Reserve, with many of Chairman Ben Bernanke’s colleagues saying the Fed’s monthly purchase of $85 billion in bonds should end by late this year.
“About half” of 19 Fed members “indicated that it likely would be appropriate to end asset purchases later this year,” according to minutes of the June Fed policy-making committee meeting, released Wednesday.