7 min read Apr 26, 2024

Know Fed Interest Rates in 2024

The US central bank is known as the Federal Reserve or Fed. Understanding the direction and rationale of the Fed rate hike & monetary policy decisions is crucial for knowing the financial markets. In December 2023, the Fed made its most recent rate adjustment, establishing a target range of 5.25% to 5.5%.

In March 2024, a report came out that showed prices had increased more than expected. Prices rose 3.5% compared to last year, a bigger jump than last month’s. This was also the highest increase in 6 months. Additionally, they have hinted that if they see inflation continuing to drop later in 2024, they may lower rates.

💲 FED Interest Rates Features

  • The Federal Reserve opted to hold off on any adjustments at their March meeting.
  • The federal fund reserve interest rates are predicted to follow a long-term trend of roughly 4.25 % in 2025 and 3.25 % in 2026.
  • According to Fed officials, core inflation will drop to 2.4% in 2024 before reaching 2.2% in 2025.

What Is a Fed Rate Hike?

A Federal Reserve bank increase in the federal funds rate is known as a Fed rate hike. Banks lend reserve balances to each other overnight. The interest rate they charge on these short-term loans is known as the federal funds rate. The Fed raises this rate to increase the cost of borrowing for banks. 

This makes banks less likely to lend, which raises the cost of borrowing for both consumers and businesses. The primary objective of the Federal Reserve when it raises interest rates is to reduce inflation by slowing down economic growth. 

Understanding Fed Interest Rate Decisions

The Federal Reserve interest rates have a significant effect on the economy. By understanding Fed interest rate decisions, you can gain valuable insights into the economic landscape and make informed financial decisions.

It has an impact on all, including the cost of borrowing for individuals and businesses, the stock market, the job market, and inflation. 

How Can the Fed’s Rate Hike Impact Savings Accounts?

When the Fed raises interest rates, banks typically offer higher rates on savings accounts to attract more deposits. It is because the Fed’s rate hike increases the cost of borrowing for banks, so they need to offer a better deal to compete and get money.

However, it’s also important to note that the increase in your savings account rate might not perfectly match the Fed’s rate hike, and it could take some time for banks to adjust their rates.

How Does the Fed Rate Hike Affect Mortgage Rates?

Inflation, job growth, and overall economic health all shape mortgage rates.

  • Effect on Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs): When the fed funds rate fluctuates, ARMs are directly affected and may see an increase in monthly payments.
  • Impact on Fixed-Rate Mortgages: Market expectations and investor sentiment can have an impact on fixed-rate mortgages even though they are not directly correlated with the Fed funds rate.

Note: The Federal Reserve does not directly determine mortgage rates. Nonetheless, it can affect mortgage interest rates through the purchase of bonds and mortgage-backed securities, as well as by changing the federal funds rate.

How Does the Fed Rate Hike Affect Home Buyers?

Fed rate increases can have a big effect on home buyers because they make it more expensive to borrow money for a mortgage. Here’s how:

  • Increased Mortgage Rates: Whenever the Federal Reserve system hikes the federal funds rate, mortgage rates typically follow suit. This implies that you will pay a higher interest rate on your mortgage loan.
  • Diminished Buying Power: The monthly payment for an equivalent loan amount rises in price as interest rates rise. Your purchasing power may be lowered as a result, allowing you to get a smaller loan and a less expensive home. 
  • Slower Housing Market: As fewer people can afford to buy, higher rates may cause the housing market to slow down. This may result in less competition for homes, but if you are selling, it may also take longer to find a buyer.

How Does the Fed Rate Hike Affect Home Sellers?

Fed rate increases can affect home sellers in two ways, affecting demand and possibly even prices. 

Higher Mortgage Rates: Mortgage rates rise as a result of Fed rate hikes. This restricts the amount of a loan that certain prospective buyers can qualify for or discourages them from entering the market.

Lower Demand, Potentially Lower Prices: With fewer buyers actively searching, sellers might need to adjust their pricing strategy. In some cases, this could lead to a need to lower asking prices to attract buyers in a market with higher borrowing costs.

How Could the Fed Rate Hike Affect Your Refinance Plans?

The following effects of the Fed rate hike could affect refinancing plans:

  • Increased Interest Rates: When the Federal Reserve hikes the Fed Funds Rate, it may result in higher mortgage rates, which could limit the amount of money you can save by refinancing.
  • Decreased Refinancing Activity: Higher rates might hinder homeowners from applying for a refinance, which would lead to a drop in opportunities and applications.
  • Analyzing Cost Savings: Before choosing to refinance, it is crucial to evaluate the possible cost savings and compare them against any related closing costs.

How Can a Mortgage Rate Lock Help When Rates Are Rising?

The mortgage lender will determine this. Once the borrower is preapproved, some lenders provide a mortgage rate lock with just the address of a potential home. Although 30-day and 60-day rate locks are common, longer options may be available. It all depends on what the mortgage lender offers.

When interest rates are rising, a mortgage rate lock may be advantageous in the following situations: 

  • Protection of Rates: A rate lock ensures the interest rate at the time of locking. This protects you from any rate hikes that might occur while the loan is being processed.
  • Budget Certainty: With a locked rate that is unaffected by future rate increases, you can precisely plan your monthly mortgage payment.
  • Comfort: Knowing that your interest rate is fixed, regardless of changes in market rates, is one of the benefits of having a rate lock.

What Is the General Housing Market Outlook?

The latest national survey of large lenders shows the average rate on a 30-year mortgage was 7.05% as of April 3, 2024. The general housing market outlook is as follows:

  • High Demand: A desire for homeownership, low mortgage rates, and demographic trends are some of the reasons contributing to the housing market’s ongoing strong demand.
  • Restricted Inventory: There are fewer properties on the market, which puts buyers in a more competitive position.
  • Rising Costs: In many places, rising home prices are the result of a shortage of supply and strong demand.
  • Growth to Continue: Despite these obstacles, the housing market’s general outlook is favorable, and growth is anticipated to continue soon.

Fed Rate Hike 2024 Update

To bring the federal funds rate down to 4.6% by the end of 2024, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) projected making three quarter-point cuts.

In 2024, the Fed predicts an interest rate reduction of 75 basis points, anticipated to occur in three installments of 25 basis points each. Similarly, interest rates are predicted to drop by 75 basis points in 2025 and 2026.

Bottom Line

The Federal Reserve has decided not to raise interest rates as of April 2024, maintaining them at a historically high level. The trajectory of Fed rate hikes in 2024 is still unclear. Although they have hinted at possible reductions later in the year, a lot will depend on how inflation performs.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Fed Rate Hike?

A Fed rate hike is an increase in the federal funds rate by the US central bank, the Federal Reserve. It is a tool to affect borrowing prices across the board for the economy.

What's the outlook for Fed rate hikes in 2024?

If the Fed continues to see declining inflation later in 2024, they may actually lower rates. However, their decisions depend on economic data, so the future remains uncertain.

Has there been a Fed rate hike in 2024?

No, there haven't been any hikes so far in 2024. The Fed last adjusted rates in December 2023, setting them high to combat inflation.

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