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Mortgage rates likely to fall, but not far

Slowdown reminiscent of 1993-95 economic cycle

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Mortgage rates fell all week long, at mid-week on sinking housing data and a slower Fed survey, the final drop early this morning on news that second-quarter GDP slipped to 2.5 percent growth -- that versus forecasts in the 3.5 percent range. Thirty-year low-fee mortgages are approaching 6.5 percent after four months just under the 7 percent barrier, now following the 10-year T-note's run below 5 percent today. This slowdown looks real. It's possible to quibble with incoming data, and there's a big load of July stuff next week, but the discussions will have to do with the slope and extent of slowdown, not its fact. The pattern in place is as classic as they come. Slowdowns don't come in one piece. In the last 60 years they have unfolded in a four-part sequence: the first to slow are housing, the stock market and other credit-sensitive sectors; the consumer in stage two; then the stage-three fade in the corporate world as consumption falls out from under expansion plans; and last, the...