This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Mortgage rates turn downward (again)

Remember all the dire predictions about what the Federal Reserve's tapering was going to do to the housing market? It seems mortgage rates have gotten a reprieve -- and from a somewhat unlikely source.

Mortgage rates fell throughout January and into early February. However, that is not entirely good news.

Relief for mortgage rates

2013 was the first year in seven in which mortgage rates rose, and 2014 was expected to see more of the same. The economy appeared to be strengthening, and in December the Fed announced it would start cutting back its quantitative easing program. That program had been seen as instrumental in driving mortgage rates down to record levels.

So far though, 2014 has defied expectations. Thirty-year mortgage rates were at 4.53 percent on January 2, but had fallen to 4.23 percent by February 6. This drop comes as a relief to prospective home buyers, but existing home owners also have reason to cheer lower rates: Low mortgage rates create refinance opportunities, and generally support property values.

Does this take the Fed off the hook?

Under different circumstances, the Fed might also welcome lower mortgage rates. Throughout last year, there were continual debates about how the Fed could back off from quantitative easing without sending mortgage rates so high they would choke off the housing rally and dampen economic growth.

Instead, the Fed has now taken two steps toward tapering its monetary stimulus, and rates have fallen rather than risen. Does this get the Fed off the hook for any potential adverse effects of tapering? Not exactly.

After all, starting last May, mortgage rates rose by more than a percentage point in anticipation of Fed tapering, so even with the recent easing of rates, they are still much higher than they were a year ago. Also, current mortgage rates reflect a series of disappointing economic news releases, which is hardly something the Fed could have wished for. After all, the idea of bringing rates down in the first place was to stimulate the economy.

Business as usual for deposit rates

For now, it is fair to say that mortgage rates have abandoned their upward course, and it will take either some more positive economic news or signs of inflation to send them higher again. Though current mortgage rates are higher than they were a year ago, they are still much lower than historical norms.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,356.87 +288.00 1.69%
S&P 500 2,012.89 +40.15 2.04%
NASDAQ 4,644.3120 +96.4780 2.12%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs