Mortgage payments at lowest level in decades

@Money April 23, 2012: 11:24 AM ET

(Money Magazine) -- For today's homebuyers, the weight of the monthly mortgage bill is the lightest it's been in decades.

Put 20% down on a median-priced ($154,400) existing home, and your payment will come to $616 a month, only 12.1% of the median U.S. family income.

In 98 of the top 100 metro areas, it's now cheaper to buy than rent.

"If you have good credit," says IHS Global Insight economist Patrick Newport, "this is the best time in 40 years to buy."

Want to trade up? You may think the buyer of your current home is getting a deal, but you might get an even better one on your next place.

Prices for bottom-tier properties have improved since 2011, reports Zillow, while top-tier prices keep falling.

Want to invest? To get the best rate (a quarter to a half point higher than for your primary residence), you'll have to put at least 25% down, according to federal guidelines.

Work with a real estate agent who specializes in investment properties.

Do you know a Money Hero? MONEY magazine is celebrating people, both famous and unsung, who have done extraordinary work to improve others' financial well-being. Nominate your Money Hero. To top of page


Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.28%4.28%
15 yr fixed3.26%3.17%
5/1 ARM3.43%3.51%
30 yr refi4.21%4.17%
15 yr refi3.18%3.10%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Find Homes for sale
  • Property Type
  • Find a home in:
    New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
    Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.