With the Federal Reserve’s interestingly timed announcement of an immediate resumption of buying mortgage-backed securities this past week, much ink has been spilled over whether it will substantively achieve its stated goal of stimulating the housing market.
Lower interested rates, more loans, more activity, you get the idea.
Let’s just say I’m skeptical.
The Fed cannot interact directly with real estate consumers; it requires the cooperation of the large lending institutions to pass the savings on. However, all indications are that this cooperation will be difficult to secure in 2012.
It’s been widely reported in the financial realm that the major home-loan lenders have been circling the wagons this year in the wake of the foreclosure processing lawsuits, in addition to reporting issues of overcapacity with regard to new loans (mostly refinances). The buzz is that, even with the new spurt of free money, interest rates will be held at their current rates (which are excellent already, by the way) to control the flow of new loans.
In addition, qualification has become harder (which no one is particularly unhappy about), and more applicants for new loans have difficult credit histories, which will render them unable to access any benefit from the free money being printed.
The Central Pa. market is moving along fairly well – certainly better than the recent past. I don’t expect to see much happening on the street from this $40 billion per month exercise on the part of the Fed.
I’ve heard QE3 described as “cash for bankers.” Hmm. Call me cynical, but I see profit in this for the banks but not the real estate consumer. I hope I’m wrong.