Nationwide, one in every 92 households is in foreclosure with Nevada having the highest foreclosure rate! According to RealtyTrac, more than 1.2 million foreclosure filings were reported in the U.S. last year. Foreclosures could rise as some 1.5 trillion in adjustable-rage mortgage get repriced this year. Couple that with declining home prices and increase property taxes and one can be whistling some sour notes. Finding a low mortgage rate is more important than ever.
Home prices fell in 17 out of 20 cities in November compared with October 2006 data according to a recent MacroMarkets and Standard and Poors report. Although home prices in some cities did rise, nation wide there is no sign of the downtrend in real estate prices slowing down.
Property tax rates continue to skyrocket in many areas because of weak-kneed elected officials not reigning in expenses or living within town budgets. Many municipalities are soft on curbing excesses or cutting budgets. Rising property tax payments make many homeowners budgets too tight and they are not able to keep up.
Many banks have promoted hybrid and adjustable mortgage loans some with no and others with low down payments. With delinquent mortgage payments and foreclosures far above year-ago levels, indications are that hard financial times are gaining on many. Ballooning interest rates often surprise those who hold an adjustable-rate or sub-prime mortgage and when it is time to refinance, many are left with no option but foreclosure.
Some banks were, in some cases, even selling houses and forgiving debt. Perhaps some of these banks feel some sort of culpability for the creative loans they have saddled the home buyer with. If they studied their customers’ financial profile, they might never have made those loans. Do these banks fear scrutiny given the strong likelihood that their customers mortgage interest rate would be higher and unaffordable upon the refinance period? It’s not unreasonable to expect mortgage rates to return to that double-digit territory as the economy cycles through a downturn.
A hybrid mortgage may be an appropriate choice if one plans to live in their house only for three or four more years. The first years of a hybrid loan are generally charged at a lower rate than traditional fixed-rate loans and if one plans to move and sell the home in a few years, it makes sense. If, for some reason, one don’t sell the home, they’re gambling using any form of a hybrid mortgage loan since it converts to an adjustable rate.
Hard times and rising payments make for tight budgets. If one wants predictability and the security of paying the same interest rate for the life of the loan, a fixed-rate mortgage is the smart choice. Rates are still low, by historical comparisons and given many economic forecasts of a weaker dollar and predictions for higher interest rates, locking in a low fixed rate mortgage will reward one with peace of mind.