Residential mortgage rates fell across the board for the week of March 1, according to HSH Associates, with average rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) falling from 5.40% to 5.34%. Rates for a 15-year FRM also offered a better deal than the previous week, as they moved from an average of 4.82% to 4.73%. If you're looking for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) with rock-bottom introductory rates, 5/1 ARM rates averaged 4.48%, down from the previous week's average of 4.58%.
Getting the Most from Your Mortgage Loan: Tax Credit Deadline Looming
The first of two deadlines for the federal tax credit program for eligible buyers is April 30. You must sign a purchase contract on or before this date to qualify for the program. If you had planned on catching this deadline but haven't started your home buying process yet, you'll need a plan now for finding your new home and evaluating and selecting your home loan. Here are some tips:
- Establish affordability and your price range. You can use online mortgage calculators to estimate affordability and the price range of homes within your budget. This eliminates distractions and saves time by narrowing your focus to homes within your price range. Calculators provide general estimates, but be aware that your actual costs are likely to vary based on individual circumstances that can't be captured in a calculator.
- Shop mortgage loans first. Get several mortgage quotes and carefully evaluate mortgage rates, loan features, and the annual percentage rate (APR) for each loan. The APR is important, as it shows the total cost of a mortgage loan including mortgage rate, lender fees, and closing costs. But keep in mind that you cannot determine the best mortgage for you by only comparing APRs--this one number doesn't take into account how long you are planning to keep your home, for instance.
- Get preapproved for a mortgage. Getting preapproved for a mortgage before looking for your next home can help avoid delays and gives sellers confidence that you're prepared to buy. If you're competing with multiple offers, being preapproved can make a positive difference.
Today's low mortgage rates and affordable home prices are presenting opportunities for getting great deals on homes and mortgage loans. However, as in any market, shop carefully and don't be rushed into choosing a mortgage loan.
Our live database of current mortgage rates can help you find the best mortgage rates in your area.