According to Washington, the “Great Recession” has been over since June of 2009. Many have scoffed at this pronouncement, feeling it a bit presumptuous on the government’s part. With unemployment still above 9%, interest rates on your savings still down around the 1.2% mark, and the housing market still in an apprehensive state, some believe the government jumped the gun on announcing the end of the recession.
Worse yet, there are signs that we are about to enter a new recession. The forecasts change ceaselessly, one month mortgage rates show a slight increase, the next month the average slips back. What next month will bring is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for certain: if you have been considering purchasing a home over the last year, even with the slight increases and declines, mortgage rates are at an all-time low. Mix that with the considerably diminished asking price of the average house and you have a homebuyer’s heaven.
The 30 Year Mortgage Interest Rate for June 2011 averaged 4.51%, down 13 basis points from May 2011 rate of 4.64%, and 23 basis points lower than the June 2010. If this downward trend continues we could see rates as low as a tantalizing 4.38% by summer’s end. This drop in the interest rate is at least mirrored by the decrease in the cost of purchasing a new home.
Home prices have fallen greatly, over their peak five years ago. According to CNN, the first quarter of this year saw a drop of 5.1% compared to the same time the previous year. Foreclosures too are abundant, a fact also working to keep housing prices down and prospective buyers naturally gravitate to these often-inexpensive options. With all these low cost homes available and such low interest rates on home mortgages, one can’t help but wonder why the American public is giving a collective “no thanks,” to the housing industry. A good guess would be fear.
In 1992’s Presidential election, the Clinton camp used the phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid!” against opponent George Bush. That phrase pretty much sums up the current housing market. It defies logic that consumers would pass on a cheap house at an all-time low mortgage rate, but as every day we are treated to more bad economic news, it makes a lot of sad sense.
Economists and commentators alike seem always to be spouting reports of impending doom, the perpetual dark cloud that may or may not drift in and ruin your financial life. For the better part, their warnings have been on target; but for little sparks of hope here and there, the economy is still far from recovered, as are the rates on unemployment. Furthermore, mix that with the fact that it is now a global issue! In contrary to what the nightly news would have you believe, not everyone has lost, or is in fear of losing their jobs.
For those with steady employment in a more reliable industry, now is probably the best time to purchase a home. Think of it as a big sale on houses, and your mortgage a super-low interest rate credit card. While everyone hopes for the best, that the economy will pull itself out of this rut (or whatever the politicians would have us call it). When it does, it will probably be a long time until home-ownership is this affordable again. Look realistically at your financial picture, and if it’s feasible to become a homeowner, now is the time to act.
Many current homeowners are taking advantage of these low mortgage rates to refinance their homes, saving thousands of dollars in the process. Refinancing a mortgage currently represents two-thirds of all mortgage activity. It may not be long until interest rates are up again and while our savings will grow quicker, plus we will once again see great deals on CD rates, it’ll be too late! The sale on houses will be over!