By Josiah Cork, The Exponent Telegram
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — The Federal Reserve raised interest rates again by 50 basis points on Dec. 14. It was the seventh hike of the year but smaller than the previous four, which were aggressive 75-point increases.
Increasing interest rates in smaller increments shows that the Fed believes that inflation is finally being curbed somewhat, but will the lowering of rate hikes help potential borrowers, particularly home buyers?
As far as affordability, experts believe the damage has already been done by previous interest rate increases.
“Given the dramatic run-up in the last quarter, I think slowing it is not going to have a dramatic impact on the housing market, which has already been impacted by the quickly rising interest rates,” said Brad Ritchie, president of Summit Community Bank.
From mortgage rates being in the 2-3% range only a year ago, rates above 7% are a bit of a shock to the system for borrowers.
However, lending experts have pointed out that these rates are still good compared to rates in effect before they got artificially low.
“We, as the general consumer, have gotten used to artificially low interest rates over the last five or six years. So really, these rates are more normal historically. But they are such a shock compared to where we were last year, so I think it’s going to take a while for the consumer to get used to getting back to a more historical type rate,” said Diana Kitts, vice president of the mortgage group for Poca Valley Bank. …