Industry News

Treasury yields, hedge fund woes may send mortgage rates up

Bear Stearns creditor seizes $800 million in bonds as collateral

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Mortgage rates are expected to push higher after Tuesday's surge in yields for 10-year Treasury notes and news that two Bear Stearns hedge funds that invested heavily in bonds backed by subprime mortgages may be near collapse. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes hit 5.15 percent Wednesday -- an increase of six basis points in 24 hours that could also push up mortgage rates. Freddie Mac's June 14 survey showed the rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages jumping 21 basis points in one week, to 6.74 percent, an 11-month high. News that a creditor of the two Bear Stearns hedge funds, Merrill Lynch & Co., was seizing $800 million of bonds held as collateral raised the possibility of further tightening of credit in subprime lending. If that happens, home buyers with blemished credit will have a harder time getting approved for a loan and pay higher interest rates, diminishing their buying power. Homeowners seeking to refinance existing loans could also face greater difficul...