Interest rates and their impact
The spotlight's on interest rates today -- the Federal Reserve, trying to stem more economic pain, announced early this morning that it is cutting its benchmark rate by half a percentage point -- so what better time to check in on the rates that matter most to homebuyers?
Zillow.com, which has a "mortgage marketplace" where borrowers can get quotes from lenders, says the average rate quoted for Marylanders last week was 6.02 percent for a 30-year fixed mortgage. That's down slightly from the week before but is tied for third-highest among the 20 states with the highest volume of quotes, Zillow says. (Lowest was Georgia, at 5.88 percent.)
Americans planning to buy in the next two years told Zillow in a survey that their top concern was interest rates (two-thirds called that a worry), followed by local property taxes, the purchase price and closing costs.
Rates are actually lower on average than they were last year or in 2006, according to Freddie Mac's data. But they've been bouncing around so much in recent months that buyers probably don't know what to expect.