Anyone who actually read Daniel Tarullo's speech yesterday setting the stage for a new round of MBS monetization would be forgiven to expect a major drop in mortgage rates. After all the Fed board member said, "by increasing demand for MBS, such a program should reduce the effective yield on those MBS, which in turn should put downward pressure on mortgage rates." There is no way he can be wrong, after all he is a Fed member (although no Ph.D., instead he has an uber-valuable J.D.). And there is no way the market can not be pricing in what is now obvious. So how does the 10 Year UST- 30 Year mortgage spread look like this morning post the "pricing in" - well it is tighter. By a whopping 0.04%! Surely this epic move in spreads will be the catalyst that unleashes hundreds of billions in refinancing activity and pushes the value of the US mortgage market higher by trillions of dollars. Or not. As the second chart below demonstrates, Operation Twist, whose purpose incidentally was just what Tarullo is suggesting less than 2 months after QE3 Lite came on the scene, has now been a total disaster. As the Mortgage Brokers' Association reported on Wednesday, the MBA mortgage applications index was down 15% in the week ended Oct. 14. This was the year's biggest decline! Worse, the refi index was down a massive 17% in the week! What does this mean? Well, that we have reached a point where prevailing rates on Mortgages have absolutely no impact on either refis or home prices at this point: anyone who could have refied, has already done so, probably many times over. Everyone else is simply not eligible. But yes, MBS monetization will sure help... all those banks that have loaded up on MBS in anticipation of just this (like Bill Gross as we first speculated back on October 11) to sell them right back to the US taxpayer. And, of course, all those who have been wisely stocking up on precious metals in anticipation of just this latest episode of Fed idiocy. Remember: as we have been saying since day 1: the Fed knows only one thing. To Print. And it will. Over and over and over.
And 10 Year vs MBA refi index: