After months of speculation about a potential increase in interest rates for mortgages, the Federal Reserve decided yesterday to keep rates where they are, citing evidence that the economy isn't strong enough to handle an increase. (Talk about bad news wrapped in good news.) This means that it's still a good time to take out a mortgage, provided you've got the cash to buy anything at all in New York City's overheated market.
In fact, the news about interest rates is likely going to have little to no effect on most prospective buyers, says Miller Samuel data guru Jonathan Miller. "With purchasing, interest rates are just one of many decisions," he says. "It's affordability, it's tight credit. It's not the low rates so much as access to credit, and lending is still atypically tight" in the wake of the financial crisis." (In fact, low interest rates might actually be the best news for anyone who's been itching to adjust the rates they're already paying. "It's a great time to refinance," notes Brittney Baldwin, Vice President and Loan Officer at National Cooperative Bank.)
Still, if interest rates are enough to nudge you over the edge into buying, now might be the time to start making moves. "There are a lot of people saying that [the Fed will raise rates] at the end of the year or in early 2016," says Miller, who adds that even if they do go up, it will be by very small increments. In any case, when rates inevitably do go up—and they will—it's nothing to get too broken up about. As Miller puts it, "[interest rate hikes] only happen when things are getting better."