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Fixed term mortgage rates have broken another record low period. While on the rate side, this is great news for consumers wishing to buy a new home, it does not sound as appealing when taking into stock the low homes for sale inventory in California. The other dampener in the deal is the stringent lending criterion which makes getting a mortgage tough in today’s market.
What’s up with the California mortgage rate?
Per Mortgage News Daily.com, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is at 3.31% today vs 3.33% yesterday. FHA 30 yr Fixed rate, remains low at 3.25% and Jumbo 30 yr fixed is down from 3.83% yesterday to 3.81% today. Rates continue to be low due to the Fed’s announcement of buying back the Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS). Get today’s rate.
Why is the inventory for Homes for Sale low in California?
This is largely due to the pent-up demand from the last 3-4 years. Per MLS Listings Inc. report in August, the Santa Clara and San Mateo counties saw a 39 percent drop in inventory from the same time last year. The low inventory has created a difficult market for buyers. Since the past 3-4 years consumers have not bought new homes leading to a pent-up demand. Many sellers are still not willing to put their house on the market. This results in multiple offers for listed homes and a strong sellers market with homes selling above the listing price. According to data from MLS Listings Inc., 2,116 single-family home sales were under contract in Santa Clara County in August, down from 2,156 in the previous month and 2,400 in August 2011.
So, as a prospective home buyer, what should you do?
Your best chance to own a home in California, is be make a competitive offer with a strong pre-approval, rather than wait for the rates to go down further.
Another strategy is to consider the FHA loan program. In most cases, you can own a home in as low as 3.5% down, with easier credit qualification to all eligible borrowers. This frees up some of the down payment money you have saved, allowing you to make an aggressive offer on homes for sale and thereby increasing your likelihood to own. The other great feature of an FHA loan is that it allows you to accept gift from family and friends, easing the cash situation further.