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Financial Service Woes: How Does All This Affect Your Mortgage?

Monday, 14 Jul 2008 | 1:37 PM ET
CNBC.com

So Fannie and Freddie come back from the brink, Indy goes under, warnings of more bank failures hit the newswires, and homeowners are of course left to wonder, how does all this affect my ability to get a loan today and at what rate?

The answer to that question is of course crucial because it’s the key to the turnaround in the in the housing market and more specifically the bottom to home prices.

I’ve spoken to as many experts in the field as I can today, and the consensus appears to be that mortgage rates and availability are no different today than they were last Wednesday. Will that change?

Greg McBride/Bankrate.com:
"With the government providing a backstop, Treasury yields will likely climb, pushing mortgage rates up...but very modestly. Without a government backstop, rates would have skyrocketed and the Fed/Treasury are putting those fears to rest."

Jay Brinkmann/Mortgage Bankers Association:
"The key metric in looking at what is going to drive mortgage rates is at what price, what is the rate on these mortgage backed securities, the securities that are sold with the mortgages behind them. The debt that Fannie and Freddie sell is much less important to mortgage pricing than the pricing of these mortgage backed securities. The issue is when the questions over whether Freddie can sell a $3 billion short term funding issue which is very routine, never really notice it, suddenly it comes up in everybody’s headlights and say “Wow, what is this going to sell for?” What then is the spillover effect into the mortgage backed securities market? Where is the loss of confidence? Will people still be willing to buy that paper? That was what Treasury was trying to step in, re-instill that confidence so there would not be sort of a panic on Monday or Tuesday in terms of paper supported by the GSEs."

Also important to remember that in terms of rates and availability, the mortgage market is much like the greater real estate market that it supports. That is, it’s all local. It will still be a lot harder and pricier to get a loan in states like California and Florida than Kansas or Pennsylvania.

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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