Monday, January 25, 2010

Fed MBS Purchase Program 92% Complete

by Bill McBride on 1/25/2010 05:38:00 PM

From the Atlanta Fed weekly Financial Highlights:

Fed MBS PurchasesClick on graph for larger image.

From the Atlanta Fed:

[T]the agency MBS purchase program nears its goal of $1.25 trillion.

  • The Fed purchased a net total of $14 billion of agency-backed MBS through the week of January 13. This brings its total purchases up to $1.14 trillion, and by the end of the first quarter 2010 the Fed will purchase $1.25 trillion (thus, it is 91% complete).
  • The Fed purchased an additional $12 billion net in MBS over the last week, bringing the total to over $1.15 trillion or just over 92% complete.

    And on the concerns about the Fed ending the MBS purchase program from David Cho, Neil Irwin and Dina ElBoghdady at the WaPo: Stakes are high as government plans exit from mortgage markets
    The wind-down of federal support for mortgage rates, set to end in two months, is a momentous test of whether the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve have succeeded in jump-starting the housing market and ensuring it can hold its own. ...

    Keeping the mortgage rates at historic lows ... was viewed within the administration as a central plank of the economic strategy last year, senior officials said. ... the policy ... helped revitalize home buying in some parts of the country and put money in the pockets of millions of homeowners who were able to refinance into lower monthly payments, the officials added.

    "We did what we thought was necessary to stabilize the market, but we don't think the government should continue special efforts forever," said Michael S. Barr, an assistant secretary at the Treasury Department. "As you bring stability, private participants come back in. We do expect this now that the market has stabilized. I'm not going to say there will be no effect on rates, but we do think you are seeing market signs and market signals that there should be an orderly transition."
    ...
    Administration and Fed officials expressed confidence that rates will rise only modestly -- perhaps a quarter of a percentage point. They attribute their optimism to the lengthy notice they have given the market.
    The Fed has already slowed the MBS purchases, and 30 year mortgage rates are still hovering around 5%. I expect no change to the FOMC statement on Wednesday concerning the MBS purchase program.