Mortgage exec: No rate cut, no problem

Posted September 16, 2008 6:16 p.m. EDT
Updated September 17, 2008 10:27 a.m. EDT

— The Federal Reserve elected to leave interest rates unchanged Tuesday, confounding experts who predicted a rate cut in the wake of recent stock market volatility.

Jeremy Salemson, chief executive of Corporate Investors Mortgage Group in Raleigh, said he was surprised by the Fed's lack of action, but consumers shouldn't be concerned.

"(The) movement is not bad news by any means," Salemson said. "We didn't see it coming maybe necessarily, but just because they didn't cut rates doesn't mean (the housing market is) not moving in the right direction."

Mortgage rates are near 40-year lows, so it's a great time to buy a house or refinance, he said. 

"If you're not comfortable, wait. Let's see what happens when consumer confidence returns," he said. "In the Triangle and, really, across the country, interest rates have their own mindset, and they do what they want to do."

Salemson said mortgage loans are still accessible to many people, and applications are up nationwide.

"You just have to be willing to document income. You have to have a good credit score – and when I say 'good credit score,' it doesn't mean you have to have the best score of 740 or above. But you've got to be willing to sort of play within the rules," he said.

Likewise, car loans are still fairly easy to obtain, he said.

Salemson said people should discuss their financial situations with a professional before making a move. But he said people don't have to wait for the Fed to act.

"We still need help in the housing business, but the good news is that interest rates are getting better. They're still very strong, and it seems that consumer confidence, which to me is still the one factor missing and needed to return to normalcy, hopefully is starting to return," he said.