AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Some people have already started bracing themselves for the expected interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

“It’s kind of hard to project what’s going to happen in the future after the last two years, but when we start looking out at what’s going to happen, interest rates are a big part of that because of inflation,” said Meybohm Real Estate President John Cates.

From what seems like a never ending virus to supply chain issues, economic experts predict it’s likely the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates, starting in March.

Bill Thompson with Queensboro Bank told NewsChannel 6 the thought is that the country’s central banking system will approve three hikes this year. And while it will slightly impact the housing industry, he said the banking industry, such as savings rates, will only go up gradually and will not have an immediate impact.

Cates said, “What we’re really talking about is less than a one percent increase in the short term federal funds rate this year.”

Cates also said the impact on mortgage payments will be minor.

“You’re talking about rates being right now between 3.5 – 3.8 percent. You add .75 percent to that, you’re still in the mid 4s, especially over a 30 year term. That’s really not a tremendous impact on your mortgage payment,” he explained.

Those who have a variable rate or 15-year mortgage may see a different impact, according to Cates. Renters could see a rise too, but he said that’s on going. Despite those changes, he believes the housing spikes will level off. Buyers though are taking action anyway.

“People who have been maybe on the fence, they’re realizing you know maybe this house is a little more than I want to pay. When they add that they could probably get a better rate now, they’re going ahead and pulling the trigger.”

Rocket Mortgage reports there’s an indirect link between oil prices, inflation and interest rates. And an increase will be felt at the pump. The Federal Reserve meets tomorrow to decide.

Photojournalist: Gary Hipps