Mortgage Rates at Record Lows – Is Now the Time to Buy?

By Nikki Garrett Metzger

(Victor Valley )– You may have heard all week that the rate for a 30 year fixed mortgage has hit another historic low.  Right now rates, according to a survey by Freddie Mac, are below four percent for the fifth week in a row.  What does that mean for high desert residents looking to buy a home?

Paul Minnick, a Mortgage Broker with High Country Mortgage in Hesperia, explained, “Buyers can get an interest rate for under four percent right now, not paying any points to buy the rate down. That’s incredible because people in our high desert that make minimum wage, in some cases, can still qualify for a home because the interest rates are so very low.”

As an example, Minnick said at the current interest rate for a $100,000 loan, the payment, including taxes and insurance, would work out to about $700 a month on an FHA loan.

However, with rates lower than they have ever been, it has done little to boost home sales. Minnick shared his thoughts on that, “Although loan activity has increased, the number of deals going into escrow really is down, based on what I’m seeing. A big part of that, in my opinion, is lack of inventory.  There’s not many homes for sale, and the whole legal mess that happened over the last year or two, has left very little inventory out there because the homes aren’t being released by the banks.”

State officials released statistics this week that the unemployment rate in the county has fallen to 12.2%, which continues a downward trend since last summer.  High unemployment rates was another factor sited in the lack of home sales activity.

Minnick believes that the news about the dismal home buying market and reports that getting a mortgage is such a difficult process is frightening potential home buyers away.

“People kind of brace themselves for the fact that’s going to be so difficult, because they know that even people with good credit are being put through the ringer. I tell people NOT to get discouraged, that the process is not nearly as daunting as the news makes it. That it is within people’s reach, and a lot of people who are renting can now own a home. And that’s a wonderful thing.”

Minnick said, “I think it is an ideal time to act under any circumstances, because the property prices are low, coupled with very low interest rates, and that makes this the perfect time buy. You have to have perseverance, both going through the loan process and looking for a home, but the trade off of getting an amazing price and an amazing rate is completely worth it. If you work with a knowledgeable Realtor and a knowledgeable lender, that the process can be smooth.”

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