We suspect one day they will, but we doubt that day is imminent.

We've done an about-face on interest rates compared to our outlook at the beginning of the year. Back in January, we thought the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage would be approaching 5% by now. That hasn't been the case. Today, it appears 5% lies somewhere on the distant horizon.

We say that because the Federal Reserve has affirmed that it has no intention of raising the federal funds rate (the important rate banks lend short-term to each other). What's more, the Fed continues to plow money from maturing Treasury and mortgage-backed securities into new issues. Though quantitative easing (QE) officially ended last month, the Fed continues to support the mortgage market. We are still looking at a very accommodating low-rate monetary environment.

At the same time, consumer-price inflation remains muted. This means the Fed has the leeway to hold interest rates low. (The Fed had offered a 6.5% unemployment rate and 2% annual inflation as guideposts before raising rates. The Fed has certainly disregarded the former, with the unemployment rate now below 6%.)

Maybe interest rates will rise when GDP growth hits 6% annually and the unemployment rate hits 4%, as it did 15 year ago. If that drives the rate on the 30-year loan up to 6%, so be it. We'll take that trade-off any day.

Information provided by Jessica Regan.

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