Interest Rates at Record Lows; Local Experts Say Mortgage Loans Not Difficult to Get

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KKCO) Mortgage giant Freddie Mac says average mortgage rates have reached a record low of 4.78% this week. Local experts break down what that means for you and tell you why they say now is the time to take advantage of it.

Rick Hamm has been in the mortgage business for more than twenty years. He says he can't remember a time in recent history when interest rates have held steady between 4.5% and 4.75%.

"You're at the point where rates have been the lowest we can look at for the last twenty to twenty–five years," said Hamm, Vice President of Unifirst Mortgage.

Experts say those rates couldn't have come at a better time for someone looking to buy a house. Because of the availability of houses, prices are down. The government is offering tax credits for first time home buyers and current homeowners who are looking to buy.

"My advice is rates are extremely low, if you're looking at purchasing a property or refinancing, take advantage now," said Hamm.

Hamm says taking advantage of those lower rates and getting approved for loans may not be as hard as you think. Options like Federal Housing Authority loans only require a 3.5% percent down payment and have less stringent credit score requirements.

"With an FHA loan you can go as low as 620 on a credit score and still get that interest rate," said Hamm.

He says even conventional loans are easing up on their down payment requirements, with some, backed by mortgage insurance, asking for as little 5% down.

"Out there right now, people are saying you have to have twenty percent down in order to the best rate and that's not true," said Hamm.

Real estate agents say in this market, the low interest rates on loans are giving buyers more bang for their buck -- and because you never know how much longer things are going to stay the way they are, now's the time to act.

"If the rates start moving up, that decreases you're purchasing power," said Ron Sechrist, a real estate broker with Bray Real Estate.

Sechrist says for every one percent the interest rate increases, you end up with $10,000 less to find your dream home.

"If you can afford a $200,000 house now and the rates bump up a percent, you're probably looking at only being able to afford a $190,000 house," said Sechrist.

Experts say another reason to cash in on a low interest mortgage loan is that sellers are looking for buyers who come to them with a loan approval -- and may not go through with the sale until they're confident a transaction can take place.

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