The Federal Reserve released its December 14 meeting minutes Tuesday afternoon. There wasn’t much there to disturb mortgage markets, thankfully.
The “Fed Minutes” is an official recap of the most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. It’s published 8 times annually, 3 weeks after the FOMC adjourns.
The Fed Minutes is similar to the meeting minutes released after a corporate conference or condo association gathering in that they provide additional details about the conversation and debate that occurred between meeting attendees.
The Fed Minutes are a lengthy companion to the Federal Reserve’s brief, more well-known, post-meeting press release. But, whereas the press release is measured in paragraphs, the minutes are measured in pages.
Here is some of what the Fed discussed last month:
- On inflation : Core inflation levels “trend lower”; disinflation risks are low.
- On housing : The market is still “quite depressed”; demand is “very weak”.
- On stimulus : The Fed will stick to its $600 billion support plan
In response, conforming mortgage rates are unchanged today.
The no-change in rates is welcome news for this month’s home buyers and other people wanting to get a jump on the “Spring Buying Season”. Mortgage rates have been trending higher since November, erasing 7 months of gains in 7 weeks, and rapidly approaching the psychologically-important 5 percent figure.
Currently, Freddie Mac reports the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate as 4.86%.
As compared to November, mortgage rates are higher. As compared to history, however, mortgage rates remain low. If you are still floating a rate, or have otherwise not locked, your opportunity may be ending. Once the economy moves to higher gear, mortgage rates will be among the first of the casualties.