The leadership of the Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors have sent a joint letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warning that the central bank’s policy of rate hikes is creating tumult within the U.S. housing market.
In their letter, the trade groups told Powell that “ongoing market uncertainty about the Fed’s rate path is contributing to recent interest rate hikes and volatility.” As a result of the Fed’s actions, the trade groups pointed to mortgage rates being elevated to a level not seen since 2000 and mortgage application activity plummeting to a level not seen since 1996.
“Today, the spread between 30-year mortgage rates and 10-year Treasury yield is at historically high levels,” the letter continued, “signally deep-seated uncertainty about where the Fed is headed.”
Powell was called upon to ease the market jitters by making two public pronouncements: that the Fed does not contemplate making additional rate hikes and that it will not sell off any of its mortgage-backed securities holdings until the housing markets stabilize and the spread between mortgage rates and the Treasury yield is normalized.
“We urge the Fed to take these simple steps to ensure that this sector does not precipitate the hard landing the Fed has tried so hard to avoid,” the letter added.