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Consumers let out a collective sigh of relief as the Federal Reserve announced in mid-September it won’t be raising interest rates in the immediate future. The announcement defused months of anticipation among analysts and consumers trying to predict where interest rates might be headed. The last time the Federal Reserve raised interest rates was June 2006.

Homeowners have been enjoying historic lows for 30-year fixed mortgages in recent years, but the popular consensus is that at some point, interest rates are bound to tick up. Current 30-year fixed-rate mortgages average right around 4%. While the Fed does not directly set mortgage rates, the policies it makes affect the federal funds rate that commonly drives interest rate trends.

Bets are now on the Fed raising rates later this year—but by how much? The presidential election might play a part in keeping rates stable, because no party will want to be perceived as responsible for higher interest rates and a tougher time getting loans. But with rates already steady and low, even a modest increase in mortgage rates won’t likely price buyers out of the market.

Potential homeowners probably do not have much to fear from rising rates, given how the Federal Reserve rate adjustments have historically affected 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. Given that the Fed will likely raise rates slowly and incrementally, it is unlikely that there will be any dramatic changes to mortgage rates. A stable economic climate like today’s tends to moderate interest trends.

Looking at this relationship, it’s evident that mortgage rates have been fairly stable, albeit declining, despite more dramatic federal funds rate changes since the 1970s. Here’s a closer look at how the two rates have correlated.

The 1970s

The 1970s were a period of stagflation. The federal funds rate danced up and down during that decade, but mortgage rates held steady at a predictable 7% to 9%.

In the fall of 1971, the federal funds rate dove from 5.75% to 3.38%, yet mortgage rates remained steadily in the 7% range.

By August 1974, the federal funds rate had climbed to 12.17%, but interest rates had only followed to 9.62%.
Federal funds rates took a nosedive from 1974 to 1975 in reaction to the 1973 recession, bottoming out at 2.99% in November 1975. Mortgage rates, however, remained steady in the 8% to 9% range.

The 1980s

The 1980s brought a huge spike for federal interest rates, and mortgage rates were finally forced to respond. Even after federal funds rates calmed, mortgage rates still bobbed nervously almost a handful of interest points above it.

Five years later, interest rates soared to a peak of 20.14% in December 1980. This was in an effort to keep inflation from doubling. Mortgage rates did follow the trend, but more slowly.

By the beginning of 1983, the federal funds rate had calmed to 8.27%. Mortgage rates subsided as well but remained higher at 12.82% April 1983.

The 1990s

Changes were smaller during the ’90s, as employment was low and continued to drop. Mortgage rates followed the trends at a more moderate pace.

It took a decade for the federal funds rate to make another significant dive to 2.97% in July 1993. Mortgages sank a corresponding amount, settling at 6.81% by October.

The 2000s

Economic forces have kept mortgage interest rates relatively stable since 2000, with less volatile responses to federal funds rate changes during that decade.

By mid-2000, the federal funds rate had slowly risen to 6.38%, but mortgage rates held the line, remaining in the 6% range as well.

In March 2004, the federal funds rate dove to 0.98%, but mortgage rates once again remained steady, resting in the 5% to 6% range and peaking in the 6% range as the federal rate made it back up to 5.25% in September 2007.

In 2008, the federal funds rate plunged to 0.11% in response to the Great Recession, but mortgage rates continued to bobble along in the 6% range, sinking slightly to 5.09% by March 2009.

As of September 2015, the federal funds rate had risen only incrementally to 0.14%. Mortgage rates, on the other hand, continued to sink and now stand at an average of 3.9%.

Extremely strong and very weak real estate markets are most likely to feel the impact of rising interest rates. A recent analysis published by CNBC showed that even a modest rise in interest rates back to the 6% range could leave homes in hot real estate markets like San Francisco and Miami overvalued. In contrast, homes in very weak markets, like Detroit, would remain undervalued.