Mortgage rates to remain low in 2015

Mortgage rates ready to rise

McBride expects the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to stay below 5 percent in 2015, but it could experience some volatility.

"We'll see rates near 4 percent on the low side if there's an economic stumble or geopolitical crisis, and rates as high as 4.8 or 4.9 percent if the Fed missteps or misspeaks," McBride says.

A misstep or misspeak would involve the Fed raising its rates too much or too quickly or accidentally signaling an intention to do so.

The Mortgage Bankers Association expects the Fed to hold off on its first increase in the federal funds rate until mid-2015, according to a statement.

In a separate statement, Lawrence Yun said he expects the Fed to act sooner, raising its short-term rate in the first half of 2015, due to inflationary pressures of rising wages and rents. Yun is chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, an industry organization.

McBride says there's no reason for homebuyers to stress over rates, which, at expected levels, won't be a barrier to well-qualified borrowers.

Homeowners might see higher rates for home equity loans if the Fed nudges short-term rates up in 2015.

"But even then, we're talking about very measured increases and an environment of strong lender competition. That works in favor of home equity borrowers," McBride says.

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