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Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is set to announce another extra large rate hike this afternoon, and mortgage rates are elevated as a result.
Most investors expect the Fed to opt for a 75-basis-point hike to the federal funds rate, though a larger, 100-point hike is also possible. Mortgage rates aren't directly impacted by Fed increases, but they often move up or down based on how investors believe the Fed's actions will impact the broader economy.
The Fed has been raising rates to try to slow inflation, but so far prices have remained stubbornly high. As long as inflation remains elevated, the Fed will likely continue tightening monetary policy. This means borrowers can expect high mortgage rates for the foreseeable future.
"Based on current conditions and expectations, rates will not start going down until there is a consensus in economic data that indicates inflation is under control and the growth in the economy is at a manageable level," says Scott Haymore, head of mortgage pricing and secondary markets at TD Bank. "Looking at Fed funds futures forecast, that looks to be in the second half of 2023."
Mortgage rates today
Mortgage refinance rates today
Use our free mortgage calculator to see how today's mortgage rates will affect your monthly and long-term payments.
By plugging in different term lengths and interest rates, you'll see how your monthly payment could change.
Are mortgage rates going up?
Mortgage rates started ticking up from historic lows in the second half of 2021 and have increased significantly so far in 2022. More recently, rates have been relatively volatile.
In the last 12 months, the Consumer Price Index rose by 8.3%. The Federal Reserve has been working to get inflation under control, and plans to increase the federal funds target rate three more times this year, following increases in March, May, June, and July.
Though not directly tied to the federal funds rate, mortgage rates are sometimes pushed up as a result of Fed rate hikes and investor expectations of how those hikes will impact the economy.
Inflation remains elevated, but has started to slow, which is a good sign for mortgage rates and the broader economy.
What do high rates mean for the housing market?
When mortgage rates go up, home shoppers' buying power decreases, as more of their anticipated housing budget has to go toward paying interest. If rates get high enough, buyers can get priced out of the market completely, which cools demand and puts downward pressure on home price growth.
However, that doesn't mean home prices will fall — in fact, they're expected to rise even more this year, just at a slower pace than what we've seen in the past couple of years.
Even with fewer buyers in the market, those who can afford to buy will still be competing over historically low inventory. When there are more buyers than there are houses available, home prices go up. So while conditions may loosen up a bit due to high rates, we aren't likely to see a significant drop in prices.
What is a good mortgage rate?
It can be hard to know if a lender is offering you a good rate, which is why it's so important to get preapproved with multiple mortgage lenders and compare each offer. Apply for preapproval with at least two or three lenders.
Your rate isn't the only thing that matters. Be sure to compare both what your monthly costs would be as well as your upfront costs, including any lender fees.
Even though mortgage rates are heavily influenced by economic factors that are out of your control, there are some things you can do to help ensure you get a good rate:
- Consider fixed vs. adjustable rates. You may be able to get a lower introductory rate with an adjustable-rate mortgage, which can be good if you plan to move before the intro period ends. But a fixed rate could be better if you're buying a forever home because you won't risk your rate going up later. Look at the rates your lender offers and weigh your options.
- Look at your finances. The stronger your financial situation, the lower your mortgage rate should be. Look for ways to boost your credit score or lower your debt-to-income ratio, if necessary. Saving for a higher down payment also helps.
- Choose the right lender. Each lender charges different mortgage rates. Picking the right one for your financial situation will help you land a good rate.