Fed meets; payment perspective

Monday, Nov. 2
Written 9:45 a.m. EDT

BIG PICTURE: "I've three payments for you," mortgage broker Jim Sahnger tells me in a voice mail.

Payment No. 1 is $828. The second payment amount is $1,214, and the third is $2,316.

"All these are payments for a $150,000 loan," Sahnger says. "The first is what would be offered today, about 5.25 with no points. The second is the average rate of interest that has been charged since 1980, and the third is the rate that was in effect in October 1981.

"Isn't it interesting how people get all worked up over a rate that is still in the low 5s but is still not that 4.5 percent rate that people were looking for? Sometimes people just need a little bit more perspective."

FED MEETING: The Federal Reserve's rate-policy meeting begins tomorrow and ends Wednesday with the release of the central bank's rate policy statement. No one expects the Fed to raise rates this time. Still, the Fed's words can move markets, and that's why Ben Bernanke will need to pull out his thesaurus and readers will hone their parsing skills, Bankrate's Greg McBride writes.

THANKSGIVING HUMP: The Palm Beach Post points out that the calendar is unfriendly to people who want to take advantage of the first-time homebuyer tax credit, which is scheduled to expire Nov. 30. That's the Monday after Thanksgiving.

There's a limit to the number of people who can close on Nov. 30. And before that, you have a 4-1/2 day weekend: Many financial businesses will close around noon Wednesday and will remain closed on Thanksgiving and the day after, and they'll be closed all weekend. Lots of people will want to close the morning of the day before Thanksgiving. Those time slots will fill up quickly, so other people will have to close their home purchases the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving. For lots of folks, that Nov. 30 deadline will really be a Nov. 24 or Nov. 23 deadline.

We're already hitting crunch time, the Post reports:

"National City told me if you want someone to close by the end of the month, have a contract in by Monday (today) or it's not going to happen," said Boynton Beach Keller Williams Realtor Yvonne Westerman. "I absolutely know the short month is going to mess things up for a lot of people."


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