mortgage

Mortgage rates for Jan. 23, 2014

 

Mortgage rates were quiet this week, but the Fed may disturb the peace of borrowers when it meets next week. I'm Doug Whiteman with your weekly look at mortgage rates.

The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage edged down 1 basis point to 4.56 percent this week. The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage also ticked lower to 3.61 percent. The 30-year jumbo fixed-rate fell to 4.63 percent, down 2 basis points. But the 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage picked up 2 basis points to come in at 3.42 percent.

The Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to meet next week. If those Fed policy makers announce another round of cuts to the central bank's bond-purchasing program, rates could jump immediately.

The Fed is expected to continue to wind down the stimulus program that has helped keep mortgage rates artificially low for so long. Even if the Fed doesn't announce further reductions to the program for now, rates could take a hit next week if the central bank offers hints of what it plans to do next.

The safest approach for potential borrowers is to lock in a rate as soon as possible.

As for buyers who are still shopping for a home and can't lock a rate until they have a contract in hand, there's no need to panic. Rates are likely to keep climbing, but slowly. Even once rates creep into the high 5s, they will still be low compared to years past.

To shop for the best mortgage rates in your area, check out the free search engine on Bankrate.com. I'm Doug Whiteman.

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