For everyday Americans, there’s some good news to the coronavirus fears that are driving investors to safe-haven investments likeTreasurys.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to price, sank more than 11 basis points to an all-time low of 0.906% on Tuesday in the wake of an emergency rate cut by the Federal Reserve to combat the economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
It was the first time the 10-year Treasury yield ever broke below 1%.
The yield on the 10-year note is a barometer for mortgage rates and other types of loans.
Most Americans’ largest liability is their home mortgage. Currently, the average 30-year fixed-rate is about 3.71%, near the lowest level in years, according to Bankrate.com.
“Whether you are house shopping or refinancing, the rates today are a big advantage,” Tendayi Kapfidze, the chief economist at LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, said Tuesday.
“For people refinancing, this will be a more compelling proposition,” added Mark Hamrick, Bankrate.com’s senior economic analyst. “You could be freeing up some money in your monthly budget and that money can be put to use.”
There is also a correlation between Treasury yields and student loans.
A college education is now the second-largest expense an individual is likely to face in a lifetime — right after purchasing a home. To cover that cost, more than half of families borrow.
The rate on undergraduate Stafford loans is currently 4.5% for the 2019-2020 academic year but all federal education loans issued for 2020-2021 will be subject to new rates.
The government sets the annual rates on those loans once a year, based on the 10-year Treasury note.
If the 10-year yield stays near 1%, federal student loan interest rates could drop significantly when they reset in the spring, saving student borrowers hundreds of dollars in interest.
Other types of borrowing, including credit cards, small business loans and home equity lines of credit, are predominantly pegged to the federal funds rate and rise or fall in step with Federal Reserve’s rate moves.
After Tuesday’s surprise rate cut, those borrowing costs will become cheaper as well.