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Each week, Bankrate.com surveys mortgage experts to gauge the state of mortgage rates over the next 30 to 45 days: Will rates rise, fall or remain relatively unchanged?
Don't lock in This week (Sept. 21- Sept. 27) the experts say: Rates are likely to either move down or stay about the same.
Down: 40%
Unchanged: 40%
This week, just one-fifth of the panelists believe mortgage rates will rise over the next 30 to 45 days. The rest are evenly split among the experts who predict that rates will fall and those who expect rates to remain relatively unchanged (plus or minus 2 basis points).


Graph the trend for mortgages
Archive of Rate Trend Index columns

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"The Federal Reserve's decision to leave rates unchanged at the Sept. 20 meeting should rally the bond market and drive rates lower, at least for the short term. It is my opinion that we should not see any additional Fed rate hikes for the remainder of the year with a cut in early 2007."
-- J.R. Diaz, vice president, Statewide Bancorp, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
"Though the Fed held steady, other nations are increasing their domestic interest rates to combat inflation pressures. Money will shift away from U.S. mortgage-backed securities and into other markets, causing mortgage rates to increase over the next month."
-- Dan Green, mortgage planner, Mobium Mortgage, Chicago

"I speak here each week about the technicals in order to provide an idea about long-term direction. A most significant event just occurred. The month-to-month tech upcrossed. This reflects the bullish nature of the Treasury market the past few weeks but also presages lower yields for another 12 months. We will mark an 'official' end to the secular bear market -- the rule is that this tech must remain upcrossed at month's end.
Briefing.com quotes a survey of economists which says that 40 percent of them expect the Fed to increase rates in the first quarter of 2007. I will forgo economist jokes and simply note that these folks are not convinced that inflation is tamed for the long term.
The Fed will express the same concerns those economists have -- namely that inflation is public enemy No. 1 for, not just Treasury yields and mortgage rates, but for the economy in general. We are seeing commodity price relief but increases in wages have been greater this year than in the previous several years and that could keep inflation at a level of concern because wage increases stick while commodity price increases do not. The last issue is one of those which is difficult to discuss in a public forum. It might be a bit difficult for a politician to get up and say, 'I am really concerned for the economy because workers wage increases are getting a tad high.'"
-- Dick Lepre, senior loan officer, Residential Pacific Mortgage, San Francisco
RATE VOTE: Unchanged

"Mortgage-backed securities appear to be very overbought technically at the moment but in the face of otherwise bullish economic information, rates overall should remain basically unchanged. From a technical aspect though, we have been trading in a very tight range since Aug. 16. When we break from this range to either the high or low side, movement could be drastic and swift. Keep a hand on the phone and make sure your mortgage professional is continually monitoring the movement of mortgage-backed securities to nail the best possible rate for you."
-- Jim Sahnger, mortgage consultant, Palm Beach Financial Network, Stuart, Fla.
RATE VOTE: Unchanged
"Rates will continue their very slow decline over the next 30 to 45 days and beyond. As expected, the Fed left rates unchanged and continued their 'pause' but it is becoming more and more clear that the economy is slowing and inflation is no longer the threat originally perceived. All of this along with the decrease in oil will give the market some breathing room and allow rates to drift down."
-- Mitch Ohlbaum, president, Legend Mortgage, Los Angeles
"The bond market seems to think inflation is dead and that the economy is slowing precipitiously. This has been good for mortgage borrowers as rates have fallen. But when will reality set in?"
-- Greg McBride, senior financial analyst, Bankrate.com

"The bond markets apparently believe that the Fed will cut short-term rates in the first half of 2007. Maybe the market is right, maybe not. In any case, that expectation is driving long-term rates lower."
-- Holden Lewis, senior reporter, Bankrate.com

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