Thursday, April 01, 2010

Countdown: Fed MBS Purchase Program Complete

by Calculated Risk on 4/01/2010 06:14:00 PM

Just to complete the countdown, the NY Fed purchased an additional net $6.074 billion in MBS for the week ending March 31st. That puts the total purchases at $1.25 trillion ... and completes the program right on schedule.

The Fed's balance sheet today shows $1.074 trillion in MBS. As mentioned before, the difference is the NY Fed announces the purchases when they contract to buy; the Federal Reserve places the MBS on the balance sheet when the contract settles. The Fed's balance sheet will probably expand by $150+ billion over the next two months as the remaining contracts settle.

The spread between mortgage rates and treasuries widened slightly, from Bloomberg: Mortgage-Bond Yields That Guide Loan Rates Rise to 3-Month High.

Fannie Mae’s current-coupon 30-year fixed-rate mortgage bonds climbed 0.05 percentage point to 4.56 percent as of 5 p.m. in New York, the highest since Dec. 28, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
...
The difference between yields on Washington-based Fannie Mae’s securities and 10-year Treasuries widened for a third day, rising about 0.01 percentage point to 0.69 percentage point, Bloomberg data show.

That spread reached 0.59 percentage point on March 10, the lowest since at least 1984, as the Fed’s purchases of agency mortgage bonds approached their scheduled conclusion. The gap averaged 1.32 percentage points from 2000 through 2009.
Oh boy, a 10 bps widening from the low! I expect the spread to widen slowly and push up mortgage rates a little (at least the spread between the Ten Year and the 30 Year fixed rate).

On mortgage rates, Freddie Mac reported today:
Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) in which the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.08 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending April 1, 2010, up from last week when it averaged 4.99 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.78 percent.