By Darin Windham, Realtor
Keyfinders Group RE/Max Alliance
With mortgage rates beginning to go up, is it still a good time to purchase a home? And the answer is absolutely yes! Read on for some background on rates and the influence you can have on your mortgage rate!
How mortgage rates have changed over time
Today’s mortgage interest rates are well below the highest annual average rate recorded by Freddie Mac – 16.63% in 1981. A year before the COVID-19 pandemic upended economies across the world, the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage for 2019 was 3.94%. The average rate for 2021 was 2.96%, the lowest annual average in 30 years.
The historic drop in interest rates means homeowners who have mortgages from 2019 and older could potentially realize significant interest savings by refinancing with one of today’s lower interest rates. When considering a mortgage refinance or purchase, it’s important to take into account closing costs such as appraisal, application, origination and attorney’s fees. These factors, in addition to the interest rate and loan amount, all contribute to the cost of a mortgage.
Factors that influence mortgage rates (and are in your control)
Many factors affect what mortgage interest rate you can qualify for, and some of them are within your control. Improving these factors could help you qualify for a lower interest rate.
• Credit score — Generally, the lowest interest rates go to borrowers with the highest credit scores.
• Debt-to-income ratio — DTI is a percentage that compares your total debts with your income. To calculate DTI, divide your monthly gross income by the total of all your monthly minimum debt payments. Generally, lenders prefer a DTI of 35% or less.
• Down payment amount — Generally, lenders (and many sellers) look favorably on a higher down payment amount. If you put down less than 20% of the home’s purchase price, many lenders will require you to pay for private mortgage insurance, which protects the lender (not you) if you fail to repay the mortgage.
• Home location/price — Interest rates can vary depending on what state you live in and where in the state you’re buying. Likewise, if you need to borrow a lot more than average (a jumbo loan) or very little, you may get a higher interest rate.
• Repayment term — The lowest rates typically come with 10- or 15-year terms, while 30-year terms usually have the highest interest rates.
So if you are thinking about purchasing a home, reach out to your lender. Or let us help put you in touch with someone local and reputable who can help you get pre-approved, and answer any of those questions about mortgages and interest rates.
Darin can be contacted at 256-652-9032 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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