Freddie's follies: How to predict the future of mortgage rates

  • Freddie Mac in 1971 began a mortgage-rate survey upon which we all rely for historical reference.
  • Freddie still telephones banks to get their rates -- 125 banks each week.
  • Freddie does its phoning Mondays through Wednesdays, and releases the “news” on Thursday.
  • Depending on the timing of real-time rate changes, Freddie’s survey-lag can produce comical results.

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I tell clients that I’m much more comfortable predicting the past than the future. But there’s one financial spot in which you can do both! Freddie Mac in 1971 began a mortgage-rate survey upon which we all rely for historical reference.