As of today, the average 30-year fixed-rate loan with no points or fees is around 5%. the lowest the rate has been in nearly 40 years. If you want to buy a house, now is the time, and if you don’t act soon, you will regret it. Here’s why: historically low interest rates.
In 1970 the rate was approximately 7.25%. After hovering there for a couple of years, it began a trend upward, landing near 10% in late 1973. It settled at 8.5% to 9% from 1974 to the end of 1976.
Rates have far further to move upward than downward; for more than 30 years, 7% was the low and 18% the high. The norm was 9% in the 1970s, 10% in the mid-1980s through the early 1990s, 7% to 8% for much of the 1990s, and 6% only over the last handful of years.
The most important lesson is to understand the actual financial impact the rate has on the cost of purchasing and paying off a home.
Every quarter-point change in interest rates is equivalent to approximately $6,000 for every $100,000 borrowed over the course of a 30-year fixed.
We are at 5%. As you can see by the graph above, as the economy stabilizes, it is reasonable for us to see 30-year fixed rates climb to 6% within the foreseeable future and probably to a range of 7% to 8% when the economy is humming again. If every quarter of a point is worth $12,000 per $200,000 borrowed, then each point is worth almost $50,000.
Let’s put that into perspective. You have a good stable job, you would like to own a $500,000 home. However, even though home prices have steadied, you may be thinking you can get another $5,000 or $10,000 discount if you wait (never mind the $8,500 or $6,500 tax credit due to run out next spring). Or you may be waiting for the news to tell you the economy is “more stable” and it’s safe to get back in the pool.
In exchange for what you may think is prudence, you will risk paying $50,000 more per point in interest rate changes between now and the time you decide you are ready to buy. And you are ignoring the fact that according to the Case-Shiller index, home prices in most regions have been trending back up for the last several months.
What I’m trying to impress upon everyone is that if you are planning on being a homeowner now and/or in the foreseeable future, or if you are looking to move your family into a bigger home, then pay more attention to the interest rates than the price of the home. If you have a steady job, good credit, and the down payment, then you really are being offered the gift of a lifetime.
Because of the many legal and tax situations that can arise through the sale and purchase of real estateALWAYS consult with your ATTORNEY or ACCOUNTANT before making ANY decisions in ANY transaction.
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* THIS ARTICLE WAS POSTED AT Thomas Feng’s Bay Area Connect *