Interest rates will rise, but not until December at the earliest, the Federal Reserve announced Wednesday, confirming a long-held view that the Fed would not raise rates ahead of the presidential election. The benchmark interest rate determines the movement of mortgage rates, which currently linger around 3.5 percent.
“The Committee judges that the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has continued to strengthen but decided, for the time being, to wait for some further evidence of continued progress toward its objectives,” according to a statement released by the Fed.
The announcement comes following a divided vote in September that resulted in the decision to hold steady on rates. “Our decision does not reflect a lack of confidence in the economy,” Fed Chair Janet Yellen said at the time. “We’re generally pleased with how the U.S. economy is doing.”
The economy since then has shown slight improvement, growing at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the third quarter. On the housing front, single-family starts came in ahead of estimates in September, and homeowner wealth in equity has continued to accumulate.
The Fed last raised the benchmark rate, up 0.25 percent, in December 2015.