Mortgage rates are rising—and fast. According to data from Freddie Mac, the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit 4.16 percent the week ending March 17—the first time rates have exceeded 4 percent since May 2019.
But don’t panic! Rising interest rates don’t have to put your home purchase on hold; you just need the right strategies to get a good deal.
So what, exactly, are those strategies?
A recent article from realtor.com outlined strategies buyers can use to score a great deal on their home (even as mortgage interest rates rise!), including:
- Purchase points for a lower rate. Mortgage rates may be on the rise—but you can still lock in a low rate. Points allow you to pay an upfront fee to lower the interest rate on your mortgage; generally, 1 point will lower your mortgage rate by 0.25 percent—and will cost you 1 percent of the loan. It’s an upfront cost, but it can drive significant savings over the course of the loan—so if you can purchase points to lower your rate, you’ll definitely want to consider it.
- Target homes that come in under budget. As interest rates rise, your dollar won’t buy you as much house as it did at a lower rate. That’s why, if you want to keep your monthly mortgage payment at an affordable level, you should consider targeted homes that are under your budget.
- Explore down payment assistance programs. As interest rates rise, you may not be able to get as competitive of a mortgage as you could have when rates were hovering near all-time lows. But you can still find ways to save money on your home purchase—including down payment assistance programs. There are a variety of assistance programs in place (for example, programs for first-time homebuyers and programs for civil servants, like firefighters or teachers)—so it’s definitely worth doing some research to see if there are any programs you qualify for.
- Zero down payment. Living in a rural area still has some advantages. Depending on the area of Montana and your income level you may qualify for a no down payment loan. Talk to a local lender about your options and there are many. This is not just for first time home buyers!
Interest rates may be rising, but there are still great deals to be had—so if you’re thinking about buying a home, don’t let the increase in interest rates stop you!