How The “Fed Minutes” Can Change Mortgage Rates And Home Affordability

FOMC Minutes can move mortgage ratesMortgage rates fell after the Federal Reserve released its April 28-29, 2009 meeting’s internal notes Wednesday.

Officially known as “Fed Minutes”, the report is an in-depth account Federal Reserve’s last get-together, detailing the discussions and decisions that create our country’s monetary policy. 

It’s the lengthy companion to the Federal Reserve’s brief, post-meeting press release.

For comparison’s sake, the Federal Reserve’s April 29 announcement contained 383 words.  The minutes of that same meeting held 5,754 words.  The extra words offer extra details about what the next monetary steps might be for the nation’s policymakers. 

This is a big deal to markets because investors are always looking for clues about what’s next — especially considering how the April Fed Minutes showed that group discussed increasing its $1.25 trillion mortgage market commitment to something bigger.

Remember that the Fed’s mortgage-buying program is largely credited with keeping mortgage rates low this year.  If there’s more buying ahead, that should help rates stay similarly low.  Mortgage rates fell Wednesday in anticipation of a move like that.  For now, though, the Fed Minutes are just talk. 

As economic conditions change later this year, so might the Federal Reserve’s stance.