QE2 & YOUThe Wizards of the Fed Unleash QE2, and What it Means for YOUOnce upon a time, in the merry old land of America, the bankers were wealthy, the people were healthy, and thepoliticians were stealthy. Then there came to the land a Great Financial Crisis in the year two thousand and seven. Thebankers were hated, the people felt cheated, and the politicians stayed crooked.The great wizards of the Federal Reserve decided to convene in their laboratory to see what could be done. Aftermonths of laborious tinkering, they created a magical potion known as "QE" (short for "quantitative easing"). The firstbatch of the magical potion was unleashed on the people in the year 2009. Mortgage rates went from 6.25% to 4.5%and the US economy avoided a Great Depression. Then, toward the end of the year 2010, the great wizards of the Fedunleashed the second batch of the magical potion and called it QE2. Mortgage rates began to tremble, and theAmerican people began to murmur. That is where our story begins...Inflation vs. DeflationThe Federal Reserve is required by law to encourage stable economic growth while preserving "monetary stability".Monetary stability simply means that the Fed should not allow too much inflation or deflation in the economy. Inflation iswhen the dollar loses value because it costs more to buy goods and services today vs. last year. For example, if it cost$10,000 to buy a car last year, and $12,000 to buy the same car this year, that is inflation. The purchasing power ofyour $10,000 lost value. Too much inflation is bad for the economy because it makes it very difficult for people andbusinesses to budget, plan for upcoming expenses, and pay their bills due to the cost of living increasing so quickly.This is what our country experienced in the 1970s.On the flip side, deflation is when the price of goods and services in the economy goes down, and the purchasingpower of the dollar increases in value. For example, deflation is when it only costs you $8,000 to buy the same car thatcost you $10,000 last year. It seems that deflation is good, because prices are coming down, right? Wrong. What if youare the one trying to sell the $10,000 car? Not only do you keep losing money on paper as the price goes down, butbuyers stop buying because they know they can get a better deal if they wait.Deflation is bad for the economy because employers lower their wages, buyers stop buying, and the economy slowsdown considerably. This is what happened to our country in the 1930s. In fact, during the Great Depression, ourcountry experienced deflation of around 30 percent. Question: So, if inflation is bad, and deflation is bad, what is a good? Answer: A little bit of inflation — say, around 2% per year. Lets think this through together. Standardizing the mortgage planning process through participation with the CMPS community of experts.
QE2 & YOUIf prices go down by 2% a year, is that good or bad for the economy? Bad; because we are all getting 2% poorer everyyear. We would hoard our money, and not buy cars or houses or anything else, because everything we buy will losevalue. You see, even small amounts of deflation can be very bad for the economy because it becomes a vicious cycledownward.On the other hand, what if prices go up by 2% a year? Sure it may cost us a little more money to live every year, but thevalues of our houses, our investments, and our incomes are also going up. We are all getting 2% richer every year. Not abad deal.That is what the Fed is trying to accomplish. They want the economy to grow by around 3% every year, and they wantinflation to average around 2% every year. Right now, inflation is averaging around 1%, and in recent months, it actuallyhit 0% on a month-over-month basis. This is dangerously close to widespread deflation in the economy. Remember,deflation is what we experienced during the Great Depression.Quantitative Easing (QE)The Fed is prescribing a medicine called "quantitative easing" (QE), because they dont want deflation in the economy.QE is when the Fed increases the "quantity" of money in the economy by creating more "bank reserves". For example, ifBank A has $1 billion deposited with the Fed, the Fed credits Bank A with having $2 billion in their account by buying anextra $1 billion of Bank As Treasury securities (government bonds). Sometimes the Fed buys the government bonds onthe open market from banks and financial institutions who own them, and sometimes the Fed buys the government bondsdirectly from the government. Remember, the US Treasury has a "bank account" with the Federal Reserve, and the Fedcan loan money to the government by creating more reserves in the US Treasurys bank account.QE Stimulates the Economy from Two Directions Standardizing the mortgage planning process through participation with the CMPS community of experts.
QE2 & YOUThe Fed used QE in 2008 and 2009 by purchasing over $1.5 trillion of government bonds and bonds backed by homemortgages. As a result, home mortgage rates declined from 6.25% to around 4.5%. The economy grew slowly as manybanks avoided bankruptcy and some businesses grew. We avoided widespread deflation and another Great Depression.Remember the fear and panic of the fall of 2008 when everyone thought the entire economy was going to crash? Ourcountry came out of that scary period relatively intact. In fact, the stock market has gone up over 70% from its lows ofMarch, 2009.Much of the low interest rates we are seeing today, and the fact that we have successfully avoided of another GreatDepression has to do with the Feds first dose of QE medicine. Now, the Fed is injecting us with more QE medicine. Thistime around, it is being called QE2 — because this is the second dose.What Does all this Mean for Your Mortgage Rate?Your mortgage rate is determined by the mortgage bonds that trade in the bond market. During QE1, the Fed purchased$1.25 trillion of mortgage bonds. This drove down mortgage rates significantly. During QE2, the Fed is purchasing $600billion of government bonds (Treasuries). Therefore, mortgage rates are not likely to drop by another 2% like they didduring QE1. However, mortgage rates may be very volatile as the bond market digests the Feds QE2 medicine.Imagine that mortgage rates are like a ship sailing in the ocean. During QE1, the Fed was not only impacting the waterlevel of the ocean, but they were actually sailing the mortgage rate ship, and directly lowering mortgage rates by investing$1.25 trillion in mortgage bonds. Now, the Fed has changed identities from being a sailor of the ship, to simply adjustingthe water levels of the ocean where the ship is sailing. In other words, the Fed is impacting the general bond market withQE2, and the mortgage rate ship will rock back and forth as the market reacts to the Feds QE2 medicine over the comingweeks and months. Standardizing the mortgage planning process through participation with the CMPS community of experts.
QE2 & YOUFor example, in the week immediately following the Feds announcement of QE2, mortgage rates shot up dramaticallybecause the bond market in general was afraid that QE2 might cause too much inflation down the road. You see, theshort term side effect of the QE medicine is likely to be very favorable for the economy. However, nobody really knowsthe long-term impact of QE, and whether future Fed officials will have the discipline to wean the economy off the QEmedicine. Thats why the bond market and mortgage rates are very jittery right now. TMAs a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist (CMPS®), I am committed, qualified and equipped to help you navigatethe turbulent mortgage market, evaluate your options, and make smart choices. Contact me for more information aboutwhat the Feds QE2 medicine means for your individual situation! ® William (Bill) Kelly, CMPS NMLS Number 37845 Mortgage Network, Inc. 271 Waverley Oaks Road Suite 209 Waltham, MA 02452 617-715-9814 direct 866-870-3313 fax firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.billkellymortgage.com/LO/index.aspx MA NMLS ID # 37845 Standardizing the mortgage planning process through participation with the CMPS community of experts.