Monday, May 12, 2008


There is a fixation on what rates will be in the future and what rates were in the past. I’ve heard potential home buyers say, “I’m not sure I want to buy now because rates are ¼ percent higher now and I think I’ll wait.” I ask, “Wait for what?” I say, “Let’s not look at the rate but instead concentrate on what that rate actually represents … your monthly payment. Let’s look at what an interest rate move of ¼ percent really does to a $200,000 mortgage. Say a 30-year interest rate at 6.00 percent “jumps” to 6 ¼ percent. Shall we sit on the sidelines, thinking such a move is suddenly unaffordable?” No! The payment on a $200,000 loan “jumps” by about $32 a month! Now let’s look at a ½ percent increase and the monthly payment increases by $64, which is about the price now of a tank of gas. While not insignificant, it’s hardly a reason to stay on the sidelines of home ownership. Right now, buyers should feel more urgency than ever. Home prices have declined enough to make buying more affordable than it's been in recent memory and interest rates (whether at 6 percent or 6 1/4 percent) are historically low. Can you see now that it's time to buy?

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