Mortgage rates were slightly lower on Wednesday. The average 30-year mortgage rate is higher, at 4.03%, which equates to a $479.15 monthly payment per $100,000 borrowed. A month ago, the equivalent payment would have been lower by $14.90.

The average 15-year mortgage rate, at 3.18%, equates to a $699.27 monthly payment per $100,000 borrowed. A month ago, the equivalent payment would have been lower by $9.65.

Rate (national average)

Today

1 Month Ago

30-year fixed jumbo

4.52%

4.34%

30-year fixed

4.03%

3.77%

15-year fixed

3.18%

2.98%

30-year fixed refi

4.06%

3.85%

15-year fixed refi

3.19%

3.03%

5/1 ARM

3.30%

3.12%

5/1 ARM refi

3.47%

3.39%

5/1 ARM: ADJUSTABLE-RATE MORTGAGE WITH AN INITIAL FIXED 5-YEAR INTEREST RATE. DATA SOURCE: BLOOMBERG. RATES MAY INCLUDE POINTS.

Federal Reserve Building

THE MARRINER S. ECCLES BUILDING, SEAT OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM. IMAGE SOURCE: THE MOTLEY FOOL.

The Federal Reserve raises rates -- and its forecasts -- in a bid to play catch-up with the economy

"There are good reasons why the market should have anticipated a move today," Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen told the press conference following the conclusion of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) December meeting on Wednesday. Sure enough, the Federal Reserve did lift its target range by a quarter of a percentage of point, to 0.50%-0.75%, having waited a year since its first rate hike of the post-crisis era.

The market had been pricing in a rate increase with virtual certainty, so analysts and commentators were more interested in the language contained in the FOMC's statement and the Fed's projection materials to glean any clues regarding the future path of interest rates. The latter materials showed that central bankers are now forecasting three quarter-point increases next year instead of two previously, based on the median estimate.

What does this mean for potential homebuyers? Not that much. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose 10 basis points on the day (a basis point equals a hundredth of a percentage point) to end at 2.57%, according to data from Bloomberg. By comparison, mortgage rates have already increased by roughly 50 basis points since the Nov. 8 election. A ten basis point increase in the rate on a 30-year mortgage with $100,000 in principal equates to an increase in monthly interest of $8.33.

The turn in the rate cycle may be in motion, but it's not being driven by the Fed.

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