The Federal Reserve made the long-awaited, much-anticipated announcement on Wednesday afternoon that federal funds target rate will increase by 25 basis points from its near-zero level where it has been since 2006.

The announcement came as the Fed wrapped its eighth and final Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting of 2015 on Wednesday afternoon. The vote was unanimous.

“The Committee judges that there has been considerable improvement in labor market conditions this year, and it is reasonably confident that inflation will rise, over the medium term, to its 2 percent objective,” the FOMC said in its statement Wednesday. “Given the economic outlook, and recognizing the time it takes for policy actions to affect future economic outcomes, the…

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Speculation was rampant in September that the Fed would raise the short-term interest rates, and they did not. Now, sentiment seems to be leaning heavily in the direction once more that the Fed will announce a rate increase on Wednesday. What is the difference between now and three months ago?

One of the big difference is that we’ve continued to have reasonably solid employment growth. The Fed takes a pretty close look at the monthly job numbers that come out from the labor department. The economy has added close to almost 2.9 million jobs over the last 12 months. The Fed needed to see some further assurance that economic growth is reaching a self-sustaining level, as measured by employment gains. We’ve continued to see those employment gains, and…

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It has been nearly four years since housing prices bottomed out nationwide. Since then, the fortunes of homeowners and renters alike have been mixed across a wide spectrum depending on where they live, according to a report by Trulia on Wednesday. So where are the best and worst markets for buying or renting a home?

Recovery in housing markets across the country has varied widely when other factors enter the equation, such as how much economic growth the area has seen (particularly in employment and wages) and how much housing prices have appreciated. Based on those factors, housing in some metros over the last four years has recovered more quickly driven by substantial economic growth, while housing has been slow to recover in some metros based on…

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Last week, an article in the Washington Post discussed a new ‘threat’ homebuyers will soon be facing: higher mortgage rates. The article revealed:

“The Mortgage Bankers Association expects that rates on 30-year loans could reach 4.8 percent by the end of next year, topping 5 percent in 2017. Rates haven’t been that high since the recession.”

How can this impact the housing market?

The article reported that recent analysis from Realtor.com found that -

“…as many as 7% of people who applied for a mortgage during the first half of the year would have had trouble qualifying if rates rose by half a percentage point.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean that those buyers negatively impacted by a rate increase would not purchase a home.…

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What do the experts predict the Residential Rental Market will be like heading into 2016.  Below are quotes from experts as well as industry reports & articles that cover the residential rental market in the U.S.

The experts…

Zillow Chief Economist Svenja Gudell:

"Make no mistake: Despite this recent slowdown in rental appreciation, the rental affordability crisis we've been enduring for the past few years shows no signs of easing, especially as income growth remains weak. It will take a lot more supply, and a lot more renters-turned-homeowners, to fully reverse this.”

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist of the National Association of Realtors

“Rents and home prices are expected to exceed income growth into next year because of the…

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For home buyers chasing a bargain, they may want to act fast. Closings in January provide the best discount for home buyers, according to Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, in his latest column at Forbes. That means buyers can get the best deals when they get a home under contract around December, Yun writes.

From peak price in August and September, home prices decline by 0.51 percent by January closings, according to the Case-Shiller index. On a typical home price of $220,000, that discount could equate to about $1,122, Yun writes.

“The seasonal decline is not all price depreciation of homes” in winter, Yun notes. “A good portion of movement is driven by a higher proportion of lower priced and smaller-sized…

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