Mortgage Rates Going Up

Mike Murphy was just on Meet the Press talking about the status of the stimulus and the economy. He said two “kitchen table” numbers are going the wrong direction: the unemployment rate and mortgage rates.

Well, I’ll give him the unemployment rate with the caveat that we’ve not yet reached the 14% that was predicted in the absence of a stimulus. But mortgage rates are not as simple. When mortgage rates go down, it is an indication of the weakness of the market: supply and demand, less people buying houses means lower prices for the mortgage.

Thus while mortgage rate increases do put a pinch on the recovery of the housing market – and with it, the breath of relief for middle class families watching their neighborhoods turn into ghost towns – they are the natural reflection of positive signs in that market. And by the way, more interest income means maybe we tax payers can start getting some of that TARP money back.