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Interest rates on mortgages are tumbling, yet again. For the first time in over a year long-term mortgage interest rates dipped back below 4 percent, defying the prognostications of industry experts who have long forecasted a sustained rise in rates as the economy strengthens.

On Thursday of last week Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages were averaging 3.92 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week. These numbers mark the lowest level for long-term rates since June of 2013.

Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, Frank Nothaft, reported that the recent drop could be a result of volatility in the stock market but noted that existing home sales “beat expectations in September” and were “up 2.4 percent from August.”

Regardless of the cause, these rate drops could translate into tens of thousands of dollars in savings through lower monthly payments. In our area, falling rates may ease sticker shock for potential home buyers, making it possible to afford homes that might otherwise have seemed out of reach.

Here is how to take advantage of the recent interest rate drop:

First, identify a range of the best rates in our area using the mortgage-comparison tools on websites like bankrate.com, and HSH.com. While the differences in rates may seem slight they can result in big savings. On a $400,000, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage a drop from 4.03 percent to 3.73 percent could end up saving you over $24,000 across the life of your loan!

Once you have found an appealing rate, calculate your monthly payment and determine if it is manageable. You can find mortgage payment calculators on money.cnn.com, and bankrate.com. Better yet, download a mortgage calculator app like the PowerOne Finance Pro Calculator and go hog wild calculating mortgages into the wee hours of the morning. I do it all the time… Remember, a good rule of thumb is to spend no more than 30 to 35 percent of your monthly take-home pay on mortgage payments.

Finally, reach out to a local lender to see if they will match the rates you found online. Most local lenders can match any rate and they are typically easier to work with than the big national banks. If you need a list of recommended local lenders, contact us today! Don’t worry, we stand to gain nothing more than the satisfaction giving you some great advice!

Sam Wardle

Realtor

703-296-5255

703-533-0054

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