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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: Middle-income homebuyers with good credit
During the height of the real estate bubble, many middle-income Americans felt squeezed out of a housing market that grew more expensive by the week.
But recent price declines and a growing level of inventory have made homes more affordable than they’ve been in several years.
“If you have a really good credit rating, yes, you can find a bargain out there,” says Orawin Velz, senior director at the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Loser: People with financial challenges
Getting a loan has become a nightmarish process for millions with bruised credit. Lenders burned by subprime loans are retrenching, extending credit only to borrowers with airtight finances.
“Credit is tightening so dramatically,” says Bob Walters, chief economist at Quicken Loans.
People with shaky FICO scores, meager savings and other financial challenges may have a tough time getting a loan for the foreseeable future.
The Federal Reserve’s latest rate cut is unlikely to directly impact mortgage rates. However, housing prices are expected to fall further, creating big bargains for home shoppers.
Buyers who purchase a home now risk seeing their equity slump if prices continue to fall in upcoming months. However, those price declines should eventually turn into profits for homeowners who stay put for at least five years, Walters says.
In the meantime, new homeowners can enjoy a nice place to live while they wait for a market turnaround.
“The absolute first and foremost value of a home is (its role as) your dwelling,” Walters says. “It’s your place to live, it’s your place to raise a family. Shelter is by far the most important component.
“If it can provide ways for you to grow wealth because of home appreciation, because of the tax deductibility and things like that, great.”