The Truth About Those “4.500 Percent Mortgage Rates” You Keep Hearing About

Business television is abuzz this morning with talk of “four-point-five percent mortgage rates”; the clip above ran on NBC Today. The news stems from a leaked story that the U.S. Treasury will intervene in the mortgage market, lowering rates a full percentage point below their current levels.

As cited by every journalist in every publication, however, the story is 100% speculation. Naturally, that doesn’t stop the press from covering it. When hope for homeowners gets spread in this manner, it’s important to remember some facts:

  1. The Treasury doesn’t set mortgage rates — Wall Street traders do. Historically, rates are based on the Supply and Demand for mortgage-backed bonds.
  2. Treasury intervention doesn’t guarantee low rates. That mortgage rates are up by a half-percent since last week proves it.
  3. Zero details about the plan have been confirmed, quoting CNBC. Everything you’ve heard about 4.5 percent rates is a guess at this point.

But, perhaps most importantly, nearly every analyst interviewed has expressed a belief that a Treasury-sponsored stimulus would apply to home buyers only. Homeowners wanting a refinance, in other words, would be ineligible.

Mortgage rates are very low today compared to where they’ve been in 2006, 2007 and 2008. If you think your mortgage rate is too high for this market, reach out to your loan officer to review all of your options. If rates really do reach 4.500 percent, you can always refinance again later.