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Buying a home in Oregon
According to Zillow, the typical home value in Oregon is higher than the typical value of $272,446 across the US. The typical home value in Oregon is $409,182, and home values have increased 10.9% over the past year.
Oregon first-time homebuyer programs
You may qualify for financial assistance through Oregon Housing and Community Services if you get your mortgage through a participating lender. Here are your options:
- Down Payment Assistance: Receive up to $15,000 for down payment or closing cost assistance if you live in certain parts of Oregon.
- Cash Advantage: Get up to 3% of your mortgage amount in cash to assist with other costs associated with buying a home.
- Rate Advantage: The lender gives you a discounted interest rate.
- Federal Housing Administration mortgage: You can get a down payment of 3.5% with a credit score of at least 580, or get a mortgage with a credit score between 500 and 580 with 10% down using this loan, which is also called an FHA loan.
- United States Department of Agriculture mortgage: These loans, also called USDA loans, can be useful if you are a low-to-moderate income borrower looking to buy a home in a rural or suburban area.
- Veterans Affairs mortgage: These mortgages, also called VA loans, are for active-service military members or veterans, or spouses of members who have died and can provide lower interest rates than conventional mortgages.
Refinancing your mortgage in Oregon
Mortgage refinance rates are at all-time lows right now, so it could be a good idea to switch your current mortgage for one with a better interest rate — especially if the new rate would be significantly lower.
You may decide to refinance with the same lender that gave you your initial mortgage, but it’s not always the best idea. A different lender may offer you a better deal the second time around. Shop around for a company that will offer the best interest rate and charge relatively low fees.
How to get a low interest rate on your mortgage
Here are some tips for landing a good interest rate on your mortgage:
- Save more for a down payment. With a conventional loan, you may be able to put down as little as 3%. But lenders reward a higher down payment with a better interest rate. Mortgage rates should stay low for a while, so you may have time to save a bigger down payment.
- Increase your credit score. Many lenders require a minimum credit score of 620 to receive a mortgage. But you can land a better interest rate with a higher score. The most important factor for boosting your score is to pay all your bills on time.
- Lower your debt-to-income ratio. Your DTI is the amount you pay toward debts each month, divided by your gross monthly income. Most lenders want to see a DTI of 36% or less for a conventional mortgage, but a lower DTI can result in a lower rate. To improve your DTI, pay down debts or consider opportunities to increase your income.
- Choose a federally backed mortgage. If you’re eligible, you might consider a USDA loan (for low-to-moderate-income borrowers buying in a rural area), a VA loan (for military members and veterans), or an FHA loan (not designated for any particular group). These loans typically come with lower interest rates than conventional mortgages. As a bonus, you won’t need a down payment for USDA or VA loans.
Improving your financial situation and choosing the right type of mortgage for your needs can help you get the best interest rate possible.
Historic mortgage rates for Oregon
By looking at the average mortgage rates in Oregon since 2010, you can see trends for 30-year fixed mortgages, 15-year fixed mortgages, and 7/1 adjustable mortgages:
Seeing how today’s rates compare to historic Oregon mortgage rates may help you decide whether you’d be getting a good deal by getting a mortgage or refinancing now.
How 30-year fixed mortgage rates work
A 30-year fixed mortgage comes with a higher interest rate than a shorter-term fixed-rate mortgage. The 30-year fixed rates used to be higher than adjustable rates, but 30-year terms have become the better deal recently.
Your monthly payments on a 30-year term will be lower than on a shorter-term mortgage. You’re spreading payments out over a longer period of time, so you’ll pay less each month.
You’ll pay more in interest in the long term with a 30-year term than you would for a 15-year mortgage, because a) the rate is higher, and b) you’ll be paying interest for longer.
How 15-year fixed mortgage rates work
A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is more affordable than a 30-year term in the long run. The 15-year rates are lower, and you’ll pay off the loan in half the amount of time.
However, your monthly payments will be higher on a 15-year term than a 30-year term. You’re paying off the same loan principal in half the time, so you’ll pay more every month.
How adjustable mortgage rates work
With an adjustable-rate loan, your rate stays the same for the first few years, then changes periodically. For example, your rate is locked in for the first five years on a 5/1 ARM, then your rate increases or decreases once per year.
ARM rates are at all-time lows right now, but a fixed-rate mortgage is still the better deal. The 30-year fixed rates are comparable to or lower than ARM rates. It could be in your best interest to lock in a low rate with a 30-year or 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rather than risk your rate increasing later with an ARM.
If you’re considering an ARM, you should still ask your lender about what your individual rates would be if you chose a fixed-rate versus an adjustable-rate mortgage.
Mortgage and refinance rates by state
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