If you've got the itch to ditch your landlord and take the leap to homeownership, mortgage rates are still low by historical standards. But beware because they are expected to begin creeping higher throughout the year.
"The cost of renting is really high right now. Rents have been rising and rising," says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors. "Renters are getting squeezed, and some want to convert to ownership.".
The NAR expects 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages to average 3.80 percent in the first quarter. However, mortgage rates are forecast to start inching higher throughout the year. The NAR forecasts an average 4 percent rate in the second quarter, 4.3 percent in the third quarter and 4.7 percent in the fourth quarter.
Economic forces, including an improving U.S. labor market and faster economic growth, are conspiring to push mortgage rates higher this year. "The Federal Reserve is likely to raise short-term interest rates in the summer, which will be a signal for the rest of the market for rates to go higher," Yun says.
"There's a window of opportunity for buying and refinancing at crazy-low rates, but it's closing," says Gina Pogol, loan expert at Charlotte, North Carolina-based LendingTree.
If this is the year you want to sign on the dotted line and become a homeowner, experts have several suggestions to help you move quickly through the mortgage approval process.
The overall lending environment remains stringent, and the best mortgage rates will be awarded to those with higher credit scores. Your credit score is a three-digit number generated using information on your credit report, and generally, the higher it is, the better. Here's what you need to do to get the best rates.
read more: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/03/03/6-steps-to-get-the-best-mortgage-rates-this-spring