Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Are mortgage interest rates really ‘historic’ now?

We hear it all the time. Headlines trumpet “mortgage rates at historic lows!” Could this really be true, or is it hype? Curious to find out, we researched mortgage rates way back to 1981 to find out the real story. Which is to say, yes, our current interest rates are historic.

Back then, some 30 years ago, the interest rate was a whopping 16.70 percent (can you image that?) for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage in June 1981, according to mortgagenewsdaily.com. In between then and now, rates did moderate to averages of about 11.50% in 1983; 8.43% in 2000; 6.88% in 2008.

So yes, the 4.73% average now really is historic. For buyers and sellers, this may be the most influential component in deciding to enter the housing market now. Buyers are enticed by the low rates and the increased housing stock. Sellers have the advantage too. Low interest rates bring in potential sales, and if your home is competitively priced and improved to match comparable homes in your neighborhood, your success rate will be high.

Spring and early summer are the peak times for buying and selling. Buyers want to settle into their new neighborhood when the weather is nice and they can be outside to meet neighbors. Children also benefit with an early summer move so they can adjust to new friends and schools.

For sellers, advantages include the opportunity to increase curb appeal and add special touches to landscaping to really show off their property. Homes show much better in the summer months with loads of outdoor natural lighting streaming in through the windows. And sellers want to be somewhere else, established in their new neighborhood.

If the interest rate is the prime motivation for buying or selling, this is the right time. We see the rates hovering around 5% or less for the foreseeable future. Wait or not, there is success out there for both buyers and sellers.

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