Mortgage interest rates: good news for home buyers and sellers

A few weeks ago a potential buyer of a home in The Glen (in Glenview Illinois) told me that he was holding off buying a home until mortgage interest rates improve. I believed that was unwise, so I researched historical 30 year, fixed rate mortgage interest rates using Freddie Mac data. I grouped them into 5 year periods and calculated the averages. What did I learn…that recent mortgage interest rates are roughly half what they were 25 years ago!

The average rate in August (the most recent data available) was 4.12% for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. This is a smidgeon higher than early months of 2013. Rates, however, have inched downward in each of the last 4 months; and that August rate of 4.12% is actually lower than the same month last year. So it is clear that home financing today is extremely low. While rates may bump along with modest increases and decreases in the short term, there is no evidence that they will become appreciably lower in the foreseeable future. In fact, it is likely that rates will eventually increase to more normal levels.

Interest rates matter…a lot…because they affect a buyer’s monthly payment and the total cost of financing over the period of ownership of a home. Every 1% rise in interest rates reduces buying power by approximately 11%. Obviously today’s low interest rates are beneficial to home buyers, but they are also good for home sellers. If buyers can purchase more house because of low interest rates, there are more qualified buyers for sellers’ homes.

If you are interesting in buying a home in The Glen or greater Glenview, please email me at or call me at 847-401-1802.

Margaret Ludemann, Glen homeowner and Coldwell Banker Realtor