The Federal Reserve has stepped up to ensure the rates stay near historical lows. During the policy meeting held on April 29th, the central bank said they would keep buying mortgage-backed securities to allow credit to keep flowing.

Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve’s chairman, says the Fed will keep purchasing the mortgage-backed securities for “the next year or so” with the unknown economic consequences from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fed said in its most recent announcement that it foresees “considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium term.”

The Fed has brought a lot of money to the table when it comes to mortgage-backed securities. In a comment, the Federal Reserve relayed this was necessary “to support smooth market functioning.” Before the Fed stepped in, mortgage rates fell during late February but took a turn up in March because of the market turmoil. The Federal Reserve has purchased more than half a trillion dollars’ worth of mortgage-backed securities since the middle of March. According to the Fed purchasing these mortgage-backed securities has given lenders the confidence that there will be enough money to keep funding mortgages to consumers. The mortgage rates will stay stable because the Federal Reserve is standing in as a reliable buyer.

Luckily there strategy is working. Currently, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.389%, a 15-year fixed-rate is at an average of 2.923% and the average for the 5/1 ARM is down to 3.117%. During Nerdwallet’s survey of mortgage rates, they found that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 88 basis points lower than this time last year.

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