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Mortgage Rates Today, Monday, Dec. 12: Highest Rates of the Year Before the Fed

Dec. 12, 2016
Mortgage Rates, Mortgages
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Thirty-year fixed, 15-year fixed and 5/1 ARM rates are all higher Monday, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders this morning.

Lenders are not waiting on Wednesday’s Federal Reserve decision regarding short-term interest rates to price in a rate hike of their own. Thirty-year fixed home loan rates on NerdWallet’s survey have hit a high for the year.

Mortgage Rates Today,
Monday, Dec. 12

(Change from 12/9)
30-year fixed: 4.38% APR (+0.07)
15-year fixed: 3.71% APR (+0.02)
5/1 ARM: 3.79% APR (+0.01)

A Federal Reserve rate hike, then what?

The Federal Reserve announces its latest decision on short-term interest rates Wednesday. With signs of a solidly growing U.S. economy, the financial markets and economists believe a rate hike is pretty much a sure thing.

“In Chair [Janet] Yellen’s most recent testimony to the Joint Economic Committee, she acknowledged these improved economic conditions along with the risks of delaying the tightening of monetary policy for too long,” Mike Fratantoni, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, said in an analysis. “If the Fed waits too long to raise rates, it might have to tighten policy abruptly to keep the economy from overheating, causing more disruption.”

» MORE: Calculate your refinance savings

The MBA believes the Fed will boost interest rates this week, followed by “several small upward rate adjustments throughout 2017,” Fratantoni says.

While Fed moves don’t directly impact mortgage rates, short- and long-term interest rates generally rise in an improving economy. In fact, home loan rates have moved higher by about half a point (0.50%) since the presidential election.

Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published APR with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. Annual percentage rate quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

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Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @halmbundrick.