Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell officially announced that effective March 16, 2022, the U.S. central bank will start raising interest rates for the first time since 2018. The Federal Reserve is lifting the Federal Funds Rate by 0.25% and will continue to increase them throughout the year. Due to increasing inflation, there is a strong belief on Wall Street that there will be 7 rate hikes this year, which would be a rate increase for every Federal Reserve meeting this year.
Fed Chairman Powell did not specifically say how many rate increases will occur this year because they will continue to monitor the economy and be flexible in their making decisions. Some members of the FMOC have been vocal in wanting to increase interest rates by 0.5% to be more aggressive in combatting inflation, although some experts worry that increasing rates too quickly could cause the economy to go into a recession. The next policy-setting FOMC meeting will be May 3-4.
Fed inflation predictions have increased to be 4.3% over the course of 2022, compared to the 2.6% projection from December. February’s CPI data recently came out showing a 7.9% inflation rate over last year, this is the highest since January 1982. Increased food and energy costs are the leading causes of inflation. Another big element is the war in Ukraine, which is causing upward pressure on inflation.
Rising interest rates and growing inflation directly affect the real estate and mortgage industries. These are both signals that housing prices will most likely be higher next year, and the amount that lenders can loan out will be less, but higher interest rates could make it cost more compared to this year. Speak with a home loan specialist to see how you can purchase or refinance now to take advantage of the currently low rates.