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At its June 14th meeting, the FED kept the federal funds rate at the current 5.0% - 5.25% levels. This pause ended the FED’s streak of 10 straight rate hikes, dating back to March 2022…
Among other strategies, the FED uses rate hikes as a method of controlling inflation, which has been an issue high on the FED’s radar following the pandemic.
While inflation is still above the FED’s desired levels of 2%, with inflation cooling and trending downward lately, the FED felt comfortable pausing on further rate hikes. Rate hikes generally take 6-9 months to filter through the economy, so the effect of past rate hikes is still yet to be felt. Therefore, in an effort to achieve a “soft-landing” and not fire America into a recession, the FED felt pausing was the best course of action.
The FED did, however, indicate that a couple more rate hikes may be used later this year if inflation doesn’t pull into desired range.
So what does this mean for mortgage rates?
While long-term mortgage rates aren’t directly tied to FED adjustments in the fed funds rate, FED moves are an indicator of future mortgage rate trends.
Absent major news or economic events, we see mortgage rates volleying back and forth in a tight range for the remainder of this year, with no big increases or significant drops mortgage borrowers should be considering. While nobody knows for sure what markets will do, the FED’s current posture leads us to the above conclusion. Once the FED is more indicative of future moves and the political season hits us, much more volatility may lie ahead.