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Fed Chief Warns Homebuyers: Time To Lock In Those Low Rates


Central bankers make it their business to be delphic most of the time, but Ben Bernanke’s recent remarks drive us toward two conclusions. “In light of the current low interest rate environment, we are watching particularly closely for instances of ‘reaching for yield’ and other forms of excessive risk-taking, which may affect asset prices and their relationships with fundamentals,” he said, according to the FT.

Now, first, with many US stock indices at all time highs despite slow economic growth, this is something of a yellow flag. If the Fed gets out of the business of inflating the stock market, equity investing is not going to be quite as much fun.

Second, if you’ve been toying with the idea of refinancing your home or taking out a mortgage, it’s time to get in gear. US interest rates seem headed up after their long, sedated nap. Locking in a nice long term mortgage at some of the lowest rates since time began seems like a good idea, and if Bernanke is right, these rates won’t last.

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  • Luke Lea

    Investor’s showing an increased “appetite for risk” is another one of those WSJ phrases that drive me up the wall. The average investor I know has an appetite for a higher rate of return on investment and imagines (or is talked into believing) that can sometimes be decoupled from risk.

  • JeffWeimer

    Done. I saw this coming a while ago and finally pulled the trigger last month. 3.5% 30 year fixed. Not the absolute best out there, but it’s with NFCU, whom I trust.

  • Pete

    ” … if you’ve been toying with the idea of refinancing your home or taking out a mortgage, it’s time to get in gear. US interest rates seem headed up after their long, sedated nap. ”

    Good advise.

  • punditus

    If rates go up, interest on government borrowing goes up. Given how much borrowing we are doing, I wonder if interest rates will be allowed to go up much.

  • owenmagoo

    we’ve been printing at a pace that is keeping the euro and usd at parity. we stop and they flop.

    this is more a case of wishful thinking. the best thing the govt could be backing, now, is real estate that is now experiencing scrutiny it actually deserves. I get the feeling that bernanke is aware of the student loan bubble and would rather be going with an actual capital investment instead of just magic beans.

    still, home prices are up yty, but home ownership is at a 18 year low. If people who qualify for a 3% mortgage aren’t buying now, they won’t be buying at 4%. there is no way bernanke would sacrifice ‘any’ business activity, particularly one that is so large in our economy, to make a few more bucks. he does care about the rates, nearly as much as the actual sales figures being generated.

    what scares/motivates is a substantial rise in home prices brought on by inflation. on the 20th of april, he felt there was no inflation risk, which means no rewards(bump in income and home prices), either.
    stagnant economy, no reports of strong inflation, and he is going to raise rates?

    • owenmagoo

      when consumer confidence is speeding towards 100, I would expect a rate change.

      it’s at 69.5. IT got to low 70’s, twice in 2012, only to crumble back down…somebody once described things as ‘fragile’. looks like they still are.

  • teapartydoc

    Most people I know that are buying right now are already homeowners either moving up or downsizing, according to their particular circumstance. The Fed is simply financing musical chairs. The chief beneficiary is the financial industry and the chief product is actually nothing. The current demographics and the crushing debt owed by recent college graduates and newlyweds forestall attempts to stimulate the kind of activity that *may* have worked in the past. This whole episode has done nothing but buttress the portfolios of bankers while prolonging the pain for the rest of us. Abolish the Fed.

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