You can get a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of less than 4 percent. Ten years ago, in 2006, that same loan carried a 6-percent rate. If you go back 10 more years, to 1996, the rate was over 8 percent — you don’t want to go back to the 1980s, when rates never dipped below 9 percent and climbed as high as 18 percent.
Yes, rising rates make it a little more expensive to borrow money, but those same rates also pay you more on your savings. So if you’re squirreling away funds for a down payment, the increased interest payoffs may almost negate the higher mortgage payments.
Plus, there are more important factors for you as a buyer than what the financial markets are doing. You need good credit, a strong income and savings beyond a down payment.
Also, know what’s going on in your housing market. Are properties languishing on the market, or are sellers fielding multiple offers above asking price? If things are slow, you should prepare to move forward with a mortgage loan, as you’ll have a chance to find a property that matches your criteria and budget. If houses are going under contract before they hit the multiple listing service, there isn’t as much urgency — your market is already extremely competitive and waiting to get your finances in order won’t mean a missed opportunity to get a great deal.