Mortgage rates have varied widely over the past several decades. In the early 1970s, for example, mortgage rates were mostly between the mid-7 percent range and high 8 percent range. By the 1980s, mortgage rates at one point rose to more than 18 percent. Depending on when you purchased a home in the 1990s, your mortgage rate may have been in the 7 percent, 8 percent, 9 percent or even 10 percent range. Today’s rates are, in a word, incredibly low.
For those in the market for a home, today’s low rates represent a great opportunity to buy and lock in a low mortgage rate for years to come. Whether to buy a home, of course, depends on more than just financing costs, but they do play a large part in the decision. One of the benefits of homeownership is that with a fixed-rate home loan, your monthly principal and interest payments remain the same over the life of the loan. With renting, you’re subject to rent increases from your landlord.
If you’re thinking of buying your first home, now’s the time to talk to a reputable lender. The average downpayment for first-time home buyers nationwide is about 6% of the purchase price, according to the National Association of Realtors. There are a variety of low-downpayment and even some no-downpayment home loan programs available that can help reduce the amount of money you’ll need to bring to the closing table. There are FHA mortgages, designed for first-time home buyers and families with moderate incomes and the VA home loan program, an incredible financing option for active-duty military personnel and veterans.