Interest Rates to Rise in June

Posted: April 15th, 2015 by Brad

The Federal Reserve is signaling that it will likely take action on increasing interest rates in two months, despite recent data that shows a weakened economy.

The move would be the first rate increase since 2006.

Two of the central bank’s officials said that disappointing job growth, manufacturing activity, and retail sales over the winter had pushed rate hike expectations to later in the year.

For more than six years, the Fed has held rates near zero. But June is being viewed as the likely month for the Fed to start raising rates.

“I could imagine circumstances where a June rate hike could still be in play,” said William Dudley, New York Fed president, and a voting member on the Fed’s policy committee. “If the economy’s strong, the unemployment rate is dropping, wages are rising, and the outlook is good, you could conceivably get to that point. The bar is probably a little bit higher” for a June hike given recent data.

But even a slight rate hike could have ripple effects throughout the economy. The most obvious impact to the housing market would be a rise to mortgage rates. Rates have been near historical lows for years. An average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.70 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.

“The Fed cut rates to historic lows in 2008 in part to reboot the housing market, which collapsed when the housing bubble popped,” CNNMoney reported. “When the Fed likely raises rates this year, it will push mortgage rates and auto loans up. That said, it’s uncertain if that will cause home or car buying to slow down.”

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