The Fed just announced an interest rate increase of 0.25%. If you're concerned about how that may affect you, please read on.
First, let's give a little background on the Fed.
The Federal Reserve Board (the Fed) controls rates on overnight loans from bank to bank or from the Fed to member banks. The Fed adjusts rate policies to maximize employment and stabilize consumer prices. In this case, the Fed has seen some economic improvement. By raising rates, they are attempting to keep the pace of growth and inflation under control.
Two important things to remember:
- The Fed can influence,but does not directly set, most consumer rates.
- The Fed's rates are short term and don't always impact longer term rates, such as fixed-rate mortgage loans.
Here's how the change may affect homeowners and home buyers:
- Interest charged on HELOCs (home equity lines of credit) will likely rise. If you have one, you may want to prepare for an increase in your monthly payment. In most instances, this increase will be small. If concerned, you may consider consolidating equity financing with a new, single, fixed-rate loan.
- Mortgage rates rose back in November after the elections, so this Fed move is largely factored in. In reality, fixed mortgage rates respond more to the economy and inflation than Fed actions, and investors anticipated this change.
As is always the case, we can't say for certain what will happen next. Mortgage rates are always a function of investor sentiment and evolving economic indicators. Though the Fed indicated further rate increases are likely in 2017, changes remain speculative and will be based on the state of the economy and inflation at the time.
It's important to remember that even if mortgage rates rise further, they are still low by historical standards. If you've been making plans, in all likelihood, they're still viable.
I'm tracking the changes daily and am happy to keep you informed whenever you like. Please reach out if I can answer any questions or help with financing or refinancing your home.