Saying the U.S. economy has strengthened in recent weeks, new Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell suggested Tuesday that the central bank could hike its key interest rate faster than anticipated.

Powell said he and his Fed colleagues will try to balance stronger growth with the potential for "an overheated economy" now that "fiscal policy is becoming more stimulative" with tax cuts and increased federal spending.

So mortgage rates will go up sooner and faster than previously thought. 

What does this mean for you?

Anyone with a credit card will see a small but instant shock to their interest rate, followed by borrowers with student and auto loans and, eventually, mortgage holders.

Fixed rates on 30-year mortgages largely track the Treasury increases. Whenever the central bank makes borrowing costlier for commercial banks, those institutions have an incentive to pass those costs on to customers.

The most vulnerable borrowers are those either seeking a new mortgage or already holding one with an adjustable rate. Lenders have begun gradually pushing up rates, partly in anticipation of future Fed increases.

IN A NUTSHELL:   If at all possible you are better off selling sooner rather than later while the pool of buyers is strong. If you are thinking of buying, you want to do so before the rates rise.