Think about this for a minute…
On Tuesday, the rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage stood at about 5.03%. That same mortgage had a rate of 5.44% on Thursday. To get an idea of what this means dollar-wise, I ran some numbers. Because mortgages are such big, long-term loans, small changes in interest rates can have a significant impact on payments and interest expense:
On a $200,000 mortgage, a person would have to pay $50.75 more per month if they took out their mortgage on Thursday instead of Tuesday. This increased interest rate would also mean that they would pay $18,269 more in interest over the life of the loan. Stating it a different way, 80.4% of the first payment would go to pay interest on the 5.44% mortgage while it would have been 77.8% with the 5.03% mortgage.
I included the last column in the graphic as a reference point to where interest rates were back in late October. In other words, mortgage rates have a ways to go before they are back to October’s levels.
If you’re in the market for a house, it pays to pay attention to mortgage rates. If you are looking, you might be wise to try to lock-in your rate. You’re under no obligation to use that rate (should rates decrease) but it does protect you should rates increase before you actually get the loan. Check with your bank or loan officer to see how long this protection lasts.