The Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate on Tuesday, don’t expect lower mortgage rates!
The Fed made the rare move to lower the federal funds rate by a half-point to a range of 1% to 1.25% in between its regularly scheduled meetings. The central bank noted that the move was in response to the “evolving risks” the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak poses to the economy. The novel coronavirus first emerged around Wuhan, China, late last year. As of Wednesday, there were over 95,000 confirmed cases worldwide and more than 3,200 deaths. At least 130 people had contracted the virus in the U.S. as of Wednesday; 11 people in the U.S. have died (10 in Washington State and one in California where there are currently 53 confirmed cases). “The Fed is catching up,” said Holden Lewis, mortgage and real estate expert at NerdWallet. “Mortgages respond to market forces and not to the Fed. The Fed is actually following and not leading when it comes to mortgage rates.” Mortgage rates have plummeted since the beginning of the year to the lowest average since 2016 as a result of market movements in response to the coronavirus. While the Federal Reserve adjusts short-term interest rates, mortgage rates fluctuate based on long-term bond rates. MarketWatch 3.10.30