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Panel prediction
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Will rates rise or remain relatively unchanged? Experts and Bankrate analysts provide their insights.

This week (March 19 – March 25) the experts say: As a result of the Fed’s decision to buy billions of dollars more in mortgage-backed securities, rates will fall. This week, a little more than half of the panelists believe mortgage rates will fall over the next 35 to 45 days. Just 6 percent think rates will rise, and 41 percent believe rates will remain relatively unchanged (plus or minus 2 basis points).

Industry experts and Bankrate commentary
Experts’ comments Panel
When our sitting President shows up on The Tonight Show and our sitting Fed Chairman shows up on 60 Minutes, both in the same week, you know we aren’t out of the woods yet. Everything is in-play to get the credit markets moving again. Look for Treasury to buy more long term mortgage backed securities. Obama and Bernanke get A’s for effort!
Jeff Lazerson, president, Mortgage Grader, Laguna Niguel, Calif.
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Borrower interest rates declined slightly over the past week. If we move to 45-60 days out, we expect rates to move higher but we also anticipate continued government intervention to try and manipulate rates flat. We have yet to see the 10-year Treasury break through the 3 percent barrier, which has proven to be much slower than we first expected (the government’s plan has been working). Low interest rates are being spurred by the Federal Reserve purchases of U.S. debt and the impending threat of an expanded purchase program. We don’t expect debt issues to contribute much to changes in rates until the March 24 when the next round of Government Debt Auctions (2-year, 5-year and 7-year notes) start up again ($99 billion potentially being issued).
Cameron Findlay, chief economist, LendingTree.com, Charlotte, N.C.
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Mortgage rates will be affected by the Fed revising their plan to buy mortgage-backed securities from $600,000,000,000 to $1,250,000,000,000 (Yep, that is really what it looks like, scary huh?). Am I the only one that thinks these are ridiculous amounts of money getting thrown around? There is a question as to whether or not this will actually drive rates lower, but this does ensure rates will remain at historically low levels for a longer period of time. I think the enthusiasm will drive rates down in the short term, but don’t be greedy.
Chris Sipe, senior mortgage consultant, Mason Dixon Funding, Frederick, Md.
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Certainly lower than where we were at Wednesday morning. The Fed has come in and said bring it on, stating they will purchase another $750 billion in mortgage-backed securities and $300 billion in treasuries, so rates should certainly be better. However, don’t look for rates at 4 percent to 4.5 percent. Pipelines will swell and lenders will use rates to control capacity.
Jim Sahnger, mortgage consultant, Palm Beach Financial Network, Stuart, Fla.
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Same story the next week … what’s it been now, over a month with no changes? Mortgage bonds are stuck in a rut and continue to trade in a very narrow range. It’s an incredible time to take advantage of near-record low rates if you’re in a position to buy, build or refinance. Unless we see some VERY good economic news or receive some unexpected negative information, rates will remain right where they are.
David Kuiper, mortgage planner, First Place Bank, Holland, Mich.
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Once the knee-jerk reaction ends, mortgage markets will settle down.
Dan Green, mortgage planner, Mobium Mortgage, author of TheMortgageReports.com, Cincinnati
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Based on the coupons the Fed has been buying, their actions will help keep a lid on rates moving much higher, but won’t likely drive rates markedly lower.
Sue Woodard, loan consultant, Prospect Mortgage, Minneapolis
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It is clear from the FOMC that they will expand intervention and buy more agency paper. This will lower FHLMC & FNMA yields. Behind this lurks a serious question: Will that massive monetary intervention by the Fed actually get banks to lend to business and consumers? I mean nonmortgage lending. Also, I see little chance of this changing jumbo rates in the near term, but this is a step.
Dick Lepre, senior loan officer, Residential Pacific Mortgage, San Francisco
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Rates should go down with the Fed’s recent announcement to commit additional funds toward mortgage-backed securities and Treasuries. However, I anticipate banks will not be as aggressive in their pricing due to the overwhelming volume of new refinance loans that they may receive in the short run.
Mark Madsen, mortgage consultant, Raintree Mortgage, Las Vegas
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Bankrate’s analysts Panel
By aiming nearly $1.5 trillion at mortgage-backed bonds and agency debt, coupled with as much as $300 billion in Treasury purchases, the Fed is pitching both ends of a doubleheader in order to bring mortgage rates down and keep them there. The Treasury purchases should yield benefits for jumbo borrowers too.
Greg McBride, senior financial analyst, Bankrate.com
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Money talks, and the Fed is shouting to the rooftops when it says it has a $1.25 trillion budget to buy mortgage-backed securities.
Holden Lewis, senior reporter, Bankrate.com
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About the Bankrate.com Rate Trend Index
Bankrate.com surveys experts in the banking and mortgage fields to see if they believe certificate of deposit and mortgage rates will rise, fall or remain relatively unchanged. For the deposit index, the panel comprises banks, thrifts and credit unions that directly offer FDIC-insured certificates of deposit to the end consumer. For the mortgage index, the panel comprises mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers and other industry experts who provide residential first mortgages to consumers. Results from Bankrate.com’s CD Rate Trend Index will be released monthly. Results from Bankrate.com’s Mortgage Rate Trend Index will be released each Thursday.