Interest rates are set to rise in 2022, but the impact's already being felt

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The average interest rate on a long-term mortgage in the U.S. ticked up slightly this week but remain historically low just as the Federal Reserve announces that it will begin tightening credit.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year, fixed rate home loan was up this week to 3.12% from 3.10% last week. A year ago, the rate stood at 2.67%.

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The average rate on a 15-year mortgage fell again this week, to 2.34% from 2.38% last week. One year ago, that rate was 2.21%.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced as expected that it would begin dialing back its monthly bond purchases — which are intended to lower long-term rates — to combat accelerating inflation. That move could raise borrowing costs across the economy in the coming months, but policy changes don’t always immediately affect other loan rates. Even with three rate increases next year, its benchmark rate would still be historically low, below 1%.

Demand for housing has surged during the pandemic as people seek more space after being holed up at home for the better part of nearly two years. Even with rock-bottom interest rates, many would-be home buyers have been left empty-handed due to a limited supply and home prices around 20% higher than a year ago.

Builders have struggled to keep up with demand as supply chain breakdowns continue to delay projects, compounding the lack of available homes and skyrocketing prices.

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