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Up ahead: A frenzied fall for home buyers

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis September 19, 2013 09:04 AM

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Rock bottom interest rates are here to stay.

In case you missed it, good old Ben Bernanke just officially ditched any plans to scale back the the Fed's multitrillion-dollar monetary manipulations that have kept interest rates at crazy lows.

The Fed chairman on Wednesday ended months of speculation that the central reserve bank is gearing up to scale back on its $40 billion a month purchase of mortgage-backed securities.

Concern that the Fed would start scaling back on this massive housing market stimulus, sparked earlier this year after some rather suggestive remarks by Bernanke, sent interest rates edging upwards, reaching into the mid 4s after having fallen to the low 3s.

That's all history now, though. In fact, Bernanke doesn't see any change in what is effectively the Fed's home buyer subsidy program until 2016.

If you are out hunting for a house right now, you probably already know why this is big news, but I will spell it out anyway.

All those record low rates in the 3 percent range represent a massive government subsidy for home buyers, helping cut the cost of a monthly payment by as much as a third, at least compared to more traditional rates in the 7 and 8 percent range.

Yet there is a dark side to these crazy low interests - rising home prices.

By continuing to keep the pedal pressed to the metal, the Fed has effectively given a huge jolt of caffeine to a housing market that was already still fairly hot, if moderating a bit.

That means more bidding wars for scarce properties and another big boost for home prices.

As if Greater Boston needed that.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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