Mortgage Rates Lower Surprisingly As Inflation Picks Up
It’s hard to make heads or tails as to why bond rates have fallen as of late in response to very hot inflation readings. Bond yields have been driven lower, helped in part by central bankers championing ultra-easy monetary policy and longer QE. The old adage that the cure for inflating input costs and consumer goods is even higher costs, which may have peaked in May. This idea has considerable support and it has become part of the Fed’s transitory inflation thesis. However, the Fed is seeing its desired response on wage inflation take hold (higher wages), but higher wages are not transitory. Once an employer raises wages, it is nearly impossible to reduce them later. The hope is that wage inflation sticks around and goods inflation recedes. The risk is a return to an inflationary world or even worse, stagflation. We are watching unprecedented fiscal and monetary intervention in real-time on a global scale which could have unintended consequences.
Given the dip in interest rates, there seems to be little room for rates to move lower. With CPI data running at 5.00% year over year, real interest rates are running negative. At the important Fed meeting next week, Fed Chairman Powell will need to provide clarity as to why an improving economy with over 9 million available jobs, needs more stimulus and why interest rates should be prevented from normalizing. We are certainly in crazy times.
With the 10-year Treasury note near 1.500%, many strategists are firming up their belief that now is the time to refinance your mortgage. If prices in your zip code have risen, low rates may still make it worthwhile to buy a new home. We recommend locking in longer-duration mortgages because if trends shift direction, then higher mortgage rates could be here for quite a while.