Fed rate-cut winners and losers

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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: ARM holder or shopper
The Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC, keeps whacking interest rates — the latest quarter-point reduction means the federal funds target rate has fallen by 100 basis points since September. If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage, this should eventually pay off in lower monthly house payments. However, you will not see any relief until your mortgage rate’s next scheduled reset.
 Winner: Fixed-rate shopper
Mortgage rates are falling to levels not seen in several years. That makes now the perfect time to refinance if your rate is high and you can make up the closing costs in less than three years, says Bob Walters, chief economist for Quicken Loans.
 Take action
Now is a great time to take out a mortgage or to refinance. Fixed-rate mortgages have fallen by more than 75 basis points over the past six months and are nearing multiyear lows. However, the party may soon be over as new lending rules make it more difficult for some people to borrow, starting in early 2008.