Rates in the last week have averaged the lowest point since records were first kept over 30 years ago. Refinancing today may help you save hundreds of dollars in monthly interest payments but even more important are the long term savings.
Rates are low right now because the financial crisis in Europe is driving the appetite for U.S. bonds which in turn raises the price and lowers the yield (interest) payment. And since mortgage rates roughly track the 10 Year Treasury Bond you can see where rates are headed and why. Rates are the lowest they’ve been–period.
If you think about the past 30 year trend of interest rates, which have averaged around 9%, it’s easy to guesstimate that the odds are good rates will be higher in the future rather than lower. What does that mean to you? If you are considering a purchase it means that there are two ways to look at it: if you buy a home at today’s rates either your monthly payment will be substantially lower or you can buy a considerably larger home for the same amount of money. In fact a payment on a $1,000,000 home ($800,000 loan) would be around $4,234 per month as opposed to $6,437 at the average historic 9% rate. But that doesn’t even begin to tell the whole story.
Not everyone stays in their home for 30 years but this offers up a substantial savings in interest payments. Most people aren’t aware of the long term costs of home ownership so you’ll be interested to note that at today’s rate your total interest payments over 30 years would total $725,000 and at the historical 9% rate it would be as high as $1,517,000–over double the interest payment for the same home. What could you do with an extra $793,000?
Perhaps rates will never be as high as they were back in the late 70’s and early 80’s but rates have still averaged 6.7% over the last 15 years during a time of historically low rates.