March 16th, 2017 10:29 AM by Michael and Jill Kohler
The Fed voted to raise its benchmark short-term interest rate by a quarter percentage point. This move will most likely push up rates on mortgages, credit card rates and other types of consumer loans in the short term.
Consumers with credit card debt, adjustable-rate mortgages and home equity lines of credit are the most likely to be affected by a rate hike, says Greg McBride, chief analyst at Bankrate.com. He says it’s the cumulative effect that’s important, especially since the Fed already raised rates in December 2015 and December 2016.
“These interest rate hikes could add up to hundreds of dollars per month in extra fees for credit card, adjustable-rate mortgage and HELOC borrowers,” McBride says.
The Fed’s likely decision to lift the federal funds rate, which is what banks charge each other for overnight loans, will have several effects on consumers. Here's how it may impact mortgage rates, auto loans, credit cards and bank savings rates:
The Fed’s key short-term rate affects mortgages and other long-term rates only indirectly.
Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates hit a 2017 high last week as the average jumped to 4.21% in anticipation of the Fed’s move Wednesday and another similar hike. That is up from a year ago when the average 30-year mortgage rate was 3.68%, according to Freddie Mac.
“For consumers currently shopping for a mortgage to purchase a property or refinance an existing loan,” says NerdWallet mortgage analyst Tim Manni, a Fed rate hike "shouldn’t feel like a real shock to the system since the rate move has already been 'baked' into the market.”
A third hike later this year could boost the rate by as much as another quarter-point or so, increasing the monthly mortgage payment on a $200,000 home by up to $30