The Federal Reserve’s single largest intervention to prop up the American economy, its $1.25trn program to buy mortgage-backed securities, came to a long-anticipated end on Wednesday. The program has been credited with holding mortgage interest rates at near-record lows and slowing the nationwide decline in home prices that threatened to send the economy into an extended slump. When the central bank announced the program two days before Thanksgiving 2008, the spread, or difference, between the rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and a 10-year Treasury note exceeded 2.5 percentage points, or 250 basis points, nearly twice the typical spread.
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Mark Fleming, First American’s chief economist, said housing market potential climbed to the highest level since January 2018.
The lowest mortgage rates have ever been was around Thanksgiving 2012 when the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.31% (according to Freddie Mac data), but rising panic over the coronavirus could drive rates to lows never seen before. HW+ Premium Content