How The Stimulus Bill Indirectly Lowered Mortgage Rates

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was signed into law Tuesday in Denver, Colorado.  Also Tuesday, stock markets fell near their November 2008 lows.

The two moves are related.

With each new stimulus; with each potential jumpstart of the economy, Wall Street questions whether the federal push will be enough to make an impact.

Traders ended undecided on that issue today, but resolute in something else — that whatever change the stimulus bill will bring, it’s not going to come fast enough to help.

The sell-off in equities was a boon to home buyers.  For the first time since early-December, mortgage markets gave a sustained rally, extending gains from the 8:30 AM market open through the 4:00 PM market close.

Conforming mortgage rates were down on the day.  Longer-term, though, this pattern won’t likely last.  Not only will the stock market regain its balance and draw dollars back, but, more importantly, the stimulus bill contained verbiage increasing the national debt ceiling by 53.4 percent. Government debt is often financed by printing more money and this leads to inflation, the enemy of mortgage rates.

For now, the stimulus plan is helping mortgage markets, albeit indirectly. If you’re shopping for home loan, consider locking quickly.  When markets flip — and they always do — it figures to be sudden.