The Federal Reserve’s increase in its benchmark short-term interest rate and future rate increases in the next few years will affect the U.S. economy in several ways.

But if the increases are gradual, the effect on the U.S. housing market will not be large. Rates will increase on mortgages, but the Fed has emphasized that they will move gradually and in small increments, according to a report in USA Today.

Rates were increased only a quarter of a point. Rate increases of 1 percentage point over the next year could limit economic growth, but only by a small amount.

The very low rates of recent years have continued to benefit housing. According to the USA Today report, home sales are expected to total about 5.7 million this year, up from 5.4 million in 2014, and 4.6 million in 2011.

Housing has been helped by 30-year fixed mortgage rates that remain below 4 percent, down from about 6 percent in 2008.

Today’s housing market is also supported by job growth and economic expansion. Adjustable-rate mortgages could increase by about half a percentage point, but if job and income growth continues, that effect could be minor.

Meanwhile, many of the largest wood products companies contacted by Woodworking Network and FDMC in November and December are reporting higher sales for the year. Cabinet companies in particular have had a strong year in 2015, but there have been gains in many wood products sectors.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/12/14/fed-rate-hike-impact/77300960/

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