Mortgage markets rallied Tuesday while Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gave his semi-annual testimony to Congress.
By the time the day was over, some conforming mortgage rates were down by as much as 0.250 percent.
One of the leading causes for the market rally was Chairman Bernanke revealing an “exit strategy” from its massive market stimulus.
Until Tuesday, the Fed hadn’t gone into much depth about means and methods by which it would unwind its interventions. In addition to penning a widely-read Op-Ed piece in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday, Bernanke testified to Congress that the Federal Reserve has a viable “exit strategy”.
Wall Street was pleased to hear it.
The specter of long-term inflation has spooked the mortgage markets off-and-on since the start of the year. It’s one of the reasons why mortgage rates have been so jumpy, and why they crossed 6 percent last month. Inflation is terrible for mortgage markets.
So, with the fear of inflation subsiding — at least temporarily — mortgage rates sunk Tuesday.
With any bit of luck, momentum will carry rates lower today and through the rest of the week. But, don’t get greedy. Mortgage markets are notoriously fickle and one “bad” statement from the Fed Chairman could cause rates to rise right back up.
Bernanke’s complete Tuesday testimony can read online at the Federal Reserve website.