What about the housing market?
November housing starts came in at an annual rate of 1.173 million, which is 10.5% higher than October, according to data released Wednesday from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Last month's rate is 16.5% above the same period in 2014.
"For the first 11 months of the year, compared to the same period in 2014, home construction is up 11%," says Joel Naroff, president and chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania. "That is pretty good."
Homebuilder confidence is virtually flat this month, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. The index ticked down 1 point from November to 61.
Each of the 3 components of the index, which measure future sales expectations, current sales conditions and prospective buyer traffic, fell slightly.
Mortgage applications slid by 1.1% last week compared with the week prior, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly survey. The unadjusted purchase index fell 7% but was 34% higher than the same week last year.
Potential buyers shouldn't fret about the direction of mortgage rates now that the Fed has made its highly anticipated move, Stearns says.
"Whether they stay the same, go up a little bit, go down a little bit, I don't see it as being a deal-breaker as far as buying a house is concerned," he says.
However, borrowers with adjustable-rate mortgages should consider refinancing into a 30-year fixed loan, says Michael Becker, branch manager at Sierra Pacific Mortgage in White Marsh, Maryland. ARMs are more sensitive to market changes than fixed-rate mortgages.
"They're still in the low 4s ... so look at maybe doing something like that," he says.
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