Fed move may not change mortgage rates

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When the Federal Reserve meets and changes rates, we all have questions: What does it mean to me? Will my mortgage rate go up or down? Is this a good time to refinance? Bankrate is here to help. We’ve looked at five categories — mortgages, home equity loans, auto loans, credit cards and certificates of deposit — to determine if the Fed’s moves made you a winner or a loser. Here’s a look at mortgages:

 Winner: Bargain hunters and ARM holders
The Federal Reserve’s decision to substantially trim the federal funds rate for the second time in little more than a week doesn’t necessarily mean mortgage rates are going down. In fact, mortgage rates often rise following a Fed rate cut, so it’s impossible to guess where they are headed from here.

However, mortgage rates recently sank to their lowest level in nearly four years, making this a great time to secure a loan at a very attractive price.

Lower rates are a major boon to people with adjustable rate mortgages whose rate is scheduled to move much higher soon.

A combination of sinking mortgage rates and plunging home prices also makes this a great time to consider buying a home, especially if you are looking for a bargain and intend to keep the home for the long haul.

 Loser: Anyone with credit wounds
There’s an old saying: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Unfortunately, folks whose credit has been shaky in the past will find such luck difficult to come by, despite the opportunities presented by plunging mortgage rates.

As lenders tighten their standards, people with poor credit who hope to get a loan increasingly find themselves on the outside looking in.

 Take action
Looking to buy or refinance? If so, lock in your loan now. Rates are near four-year lows, but have climbed in the past week. Although rates could go lower, they may continue to climb instead.

If your credit is poor, you probably won’t be able to take advantage of great rates. If possible, take steps now to
rebuild your credit. That way, you may be better prepared the next time opportunities arise.

Read more about who wins or loses by clicking on the tabs at the top of this story.