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Fed News   Fed announcement: June 24, 2009

Winner or loser: Home equity
 

[unchanged] Loser: HELOC borrower
The rate on your home equity line of credit won't change. That's the good news. The bad news is that you probably expected the HELOC's rate to fall when the Fed cut the federal funds rate.

Bottom line: You didn't really lose out when the Fed didn't cut short-term rates, but you could have won if the Fed had cut rates.

Home equity

Historical perspective
Rates on home equity lines of credit move up and down with the prime rate, which, in turn, moves up and down with the target federal funds rate. The prime rate has been 8.25 percent for 15 months. Over that same time, the average rate on a HELOC has been about 8.25 percent.

Smart strategies
Even as the Fed stands pat, most people believe that the Fed eventually will cut rates. It might be next month and it might be later than that, but a cut is more likely than an increase. That means that the rate on your HELOC balance will likely fall, sooner or later.

Check your loan papers to see how long it will take for a Fed rate cut to affect your HELOC. It might take a couple of billing cycles.

Take action
This questionnaire helps you decide whether a home equity loan or a line of credit would be better for you.

Winner: Home equity loan shopper
Rates on home equity loans haven't been moving much, and they probably won't betray much reaction to the Federal Reserve's snub of a rate cut.

Historical perspective
Home equity loans have been pretty steady all year. They're about 11 basis points higher than at the beginning of the year, even as the federal funds rate has remained unchanged.

Smart strategies
Rates on fixed-rate home equity loans have been a little lower than rates on variable-rate home equity lines of credit. If the Federal Reserve eventually drops the federal funds rate, as expected, then HELOC rates might fall below home equity loan rates. At that point, it might make sense to refinance into a credit line.

Take action
This questionnaire helps you decide whether a home equity loan or a line of credit would be better for you.

[25 pt] Winner: HELOC borrower
Your HELOC rate will fall, eventually.

Home equity

Historical perspective
Rates on home equity lines of credit move up and down with the prime rate, which, in turn, moves up and down with the target federal funds rate. Now that the Federal Reserve has cut the federal funds rate by a quarter point, rates on HELOCs will fall a quarter point.

Smart strategies
The rate on your HELOC balance will fall, but it might happen later than you'd like. Check your loan papers to see how long it will take for a Fed rate cut to affect your HELOC. It could take a couple of billing cycles.

Take action
This questionnaire helps you decide whether a home equity loan or a line of credit would be better for you.

Winner: Home equity loan shopper
Rates on home equity loans haven't been moving much, but they might nudge downward with the Federal Reserve's rate cut.

Historical perspective
Home equity loans have been pretty steady all year. They're about 11 basis points higher than at the beginning of the year, even as the federal funds rate has remained unchanged. A Fed rate cut doesn't translate automatically into lower rates on home equity loans, but it makes them more likely.

Smart strategies
Rates on fixed-rate home equity loans have been a little lower than rates on variable-rate home equity lines of credit. That could change, as HELOC rates fall. It might make sense to refinance into a credit line.

Take action
This questionnaire helps you decide whether a home equity loan or a line of credit would be better for you.

[50 pt] Winner: HELOC borrower
Your HELOC rate will fall, eventually.

Home equity

Historical perspective
Rates on home equity lines of credit move up and down with the prime rate, which, in turn, moves up and down with the target federal funds rate. Now that the Federal Reserve has cut the federal funds rate by a half point, rates on HELOCs will fall a half point.

Smart strategies
The rate on your HELOC balance will fall, but it might happen later than you'd like. Check your loan papers to see how long it will take for a Fed rate cut to affect your HELOC. It could take a couple of billing cycles.

Take action
This questionnaire helps you decide whether a home equity loan or a line of credit would be better for you.

Winner: Home equity loan shopper
Rates on home equity loans haven't been moving much, but they might move downward with the Federal Reserve's larger-than-expected rate cut.

Historical perspective
Home equity loans have been pretty steady all year. They're about 11 basis points higher than at the beginning of the year, even as the federal funds rate has remained unchanged. A half-point Fed rate cut doesn't translate automatically into lower rates on home equity loans, but it makes them likely.

Smart strategies
Rates on fixed-rate home equity loans have been a little lower than rates on variable-rate home equity lines of credit. That could change, as HELOC rates fall. It might make sense to refinance into a credit line.

Take action
This questionnaire helps you decide whether a home equity loan or a line of credit would be better for you.

Create a news alert for "home equity"  -- Posted: Sept. 18, 2007
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