The pace of the spike in mortgage rates over the past several days has been nothing but staggering –especially considering it began when rates were already near their highest levels in more than a decade. From an average level of 5.55% for a top tier 30yr fixed quote on Thursday, the average lender was up to 6.28% by yesterday afternoon. The drama began with last Friday’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key inflation report that showed prices rising faster than expected. Inflation is biggest concern for the Fed at the moment, and the biggest reason for their increasingly aggressive efforts to push rates higher in 2022. CPI alone wouldn’t have been worth the drama we witnessed, however. The frenzy of the past few days was compounded by the fact that the financial market knew there was a Fed announcement coming up on Wednesday AND that the Fed was in its regularly-scheduled “blackout period.” During the blackout period, the Fed refrains from public comment on monetary policy. In other words, markets were flying blind as to what the Fed’s response might be to the CPI data, and imaginations ran wild. When we finally heard from the Fed today, the initial reaction suggested the market’s wild imagination was actually fairly accurate. The Fed hiked its policy rate by the same 75 basis points (0.75%) predicted by Fed Funds Futures (tradeable contracts that allow markets to bet on the level of the Fed Funds Rate). Not only that, but the initial reaction in bonds (the place we’d expect to see the most visible reaction, and the financial instruments that dictate interest rate movement) was fairly sideways.