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Rates Creep Up

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A recent survey and a rate increase could mean more competition for homes

Recent indication is that first time home buyers are getting tired of sitting on the sidelines. According to a recent online poll taken by the National Apartment Association, 17 percent of renters plan to make the jump to home ownership in the next year; 41 percent of the 2,041 respondents planned to be home owners within two years. Only 31 percent planned to still be paying rent five years from now.

Another factor that could very soon contribute to an increase in home buying could be rising mortgage costs. Fixed-rate mortgage rates rose to 6.32 percent, the highest it has been since October. After months of aggressively dropping interest rates, many lenders are worried that the Fed will be forced to raise rates back up. As interest rates rise, so do mortgage rates. According to a press release on freddiemac.com, Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist said that, "Mortgage rates jumped this week after a number of Federal Reserve officials, most notably Chairman [Ben] Bernanke and Vice Chair [Donald] Kohn, expressed concern over a threat of inflation." We may very well be seeing the beginning of the end of the super-low mortgage and potential buyers may realize that with rising rates, now may be the time to jump in. Nothaft added, "Moreover, pending home sales for April unexpectedly rose by 6.3% and mortgage applications for home purchases ... were also up last week."

“What do you think about rates … should I lock in now or wait to see if they fall further?” Think I’ve been asked that a time or two over the past 18 years? You better believe it.  It’s a good question—one that goes through every single buyer’s head at some stage. 

A quoted interest rate is no good unless you’ve confirmed, in writing, that your loan is indeed “locked,” or guaranteed for a designated period of time. You need to be proactive with your locked rate as well and don’t assume that your loan officer already locked you in. In fact, your loan officer shouldn’t lock in your rate without your specific instructions. If it was locked in and rates went down you’d be pretty mad, wouldn’t you?

While neither real estate agents nor loan officers are in the business of predicting the future, it’s still possible to make a prudent choice in the face of uncertainty. Would you rather lock in your rate and watch rates fall or not lock in your rate and see rates go up?

If you decided to lock and rates go down, you’ve secured the market rate that you were happy with. But if rates went up and you didn’t lock, you’d be paying for that mistake for the rest of the loan.

There is an even worse possible scenario: After not locking in your rate, rates shoot up and you no longer qualify for the loan. So it’s important to ask yourself:  “Which way would I rather be wrong?”

If you are comfortable with the rate you’ve been quoted, talk to your real estate agent about the possible consequences of waiting to lock it in.

Written by David Reed, author of Mortgage 101 and Mortgage Confidential.

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Contact Information

Photo of The Jana Caudill Team Real Estate
The Jana Caudill Team
Redkey Realty Leaders
503 East Summit St., Suite 2
Crown Point IN 46307
219-661-1256
Fax: 219-663-5949