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Low interest rates may provide relief in hard times

by | Mar 30, 2020 | Blog, Mortgage & Finance

As the coronavirus brings economic hardships to so many Americans, there’s a sliver of good news: current low interest rates.

In March, mortgage rates dropped to 3.29%, the lowest since Freddie Mac began tracking rates in 1971, according to Forbes. Since then, mortgage rates have shown high volatility for many reasons, but underlying economic factors should encourage low rates in the months to come.

That means homeowners may refinance to save money or to restructure their loans for personal financial stability. Here are several reasons to consider this move, offered by Investopedia:

To save money over the course of your loan: Lower interest rates can make a huge difference in your payout over time. For example, notes Investopedia, “a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 5.5% on a $100,000 home has a principal and interest payment of $568. That same loan at 4.1% reduces your payment to $483.”

Before you act, however, remember that closing costs—appraisal, title search, application fees—can add up to 2-5% of a loan’s principal. Most experts suggest that refinancing is most beneficial when it reduces your interest rate by at least 1 to 2%.

To shorten the loan’s term: If your current monthly mortgage payment doesn’t strain your budget, refinancing can allow you to pay the same monthly amount, while shortening the loan term. Dropping the term from 30 years to 15, for example, can result in major savings on interest in the long run.

To consolidate debt: If you’re paying higher interest rates on debt than you would pay on a mortgage, consider consolidating those debts into your mortgage by refinancing. Investopedia, however, urges caution: “Take this step only if you are convinced you can resist the temptation to spend once the refinancing relieves you from debt.”

Of course, for those new to the home market, now is also an excellent time to purchase a home and receive remarkable interest rates.

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