What are the signs that mortgage rates, now at historic lows, are about to go up?

One way to catch a clue is to read the minutes of the Federal Reserve. For instance, the Federal Open Market Committee said in its September minutes that when it came to interest rates, there is no policy change. And the minutes said that while the Fed believes an economic recovery is underway, it regards a weak economy as a greater risk than inflation. Upcoming meeting minutes are likely to be just as forthcoming if an uptick is in the cards.

Other signs include:

  • Declining unemployment: The unemployment rate is sitting at 9.7 percent. If lots of Americans go back to work, an increase in interest rates is likely.
  • Rising discount rate: The rate the Fed charges banks that borrow from it directly stands at 0.5 percent. If it rises or the spread between it and the Federal Funds rate widens, then mortgage rate increases won't be far behind.

Source: BusinesWeek.com, Marc Roth (10/28/2009)