Tug of war over mortgage rates

Fed may launch new round of MBS purchases as lawmakers hike Fannie, Freddie fees

The Federal Reserve may again exercise its power to drive down mortgage rates in order to stimulate the economy, but any savings for homebuyers may be at least partially offset by a new law that raises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s guarantee fees and diverts that money to the Treasury.

A growing number of economists think that the Federal Reserve’s worries about housing markets — detailed in a white paper to Congress this month — mean it will soon launch "QE3," a third round of quantitative easing.