The path of future mortgage rate movements is becoming clearer

Now that the wholesale money markets seem convinced that the OCR will stay unchanged for at least the rest of 2010, and probably well into the first quarter of 2011, the prospect of any significant changes to mortgage rates this year is fading.

The slight rise in benchmark Government bond yields from mid-August to mid-September has now reversed, and the downward trend resumed.

Falling yields mean the same thing as a 'bond rally' - the face price of the underlying bonds is rising.

This is because the overall risks to the international economy are rising, and investors are seeking the relative safety of Government paper.

Money is realtively 'cheap' again, but potential borrowers are reluctant to take on more debt in the present climate. Repaying debt has become more popular than incurring it. This is expecially true for businesses, and it is increasingly true for households - and the speed of the shift to deleveraging is surprising many regulators.

Maybe it still makes technical sense to lock in a 2 year fixed mortgage at current rates, but the sentiment is definitely towards staying on variable. In fact, almost 40% of all housing lending is now on floating rates, a level not seen in more than six years.


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Posted: 2 Oct 2010

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