• Benchmark short-term interest rates went up in December, but won't in January.
  • The raise in the rate last month means economic confidence.
  • Buyers enter the market when they need to, but those already in look at longer term rates for more optional purchase, or as an investment strategy.

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As was widely expected, the Federal Reserve raised the benchmark short-term interest rate at its Dec. 19 meeting. It had been at zero for seven years prior to the quarter-point increase.But what does a move like that mean for the average mortgage consumer, and for the future of the housing market?Greg Mcbride, BankrateGreg McBride, CFA, and senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com, said to expect gradual adjustments to the prime rate over the course of 2016. But, he said, raising the price of money itself might not be the primary driving factor that impacts individual buying decisions.McBride reminds that mortgage rates tend to move in advance of the Fed’s actions, not after. He said that there was a bump mortgage rates last spring, a move up of almost a quarter of a poi...