Home purchasers are finding it’s important to not be distracted by negative reports they read or hear about. Today’s real estate market is challenging, but also contains opportunity.

Don’t let someone else’s complaints about the housing market keep you from completing a smart purchase this year.

Remember that something you hear on a broadcast or read in a national publication may not reflect the conditions in a neighborhood you’re considering moving to. It’s more helpful to focus on specific properties you’re interested in, rather than on the market as a whole.

AFFORDABLE PAYMENTS

You may have heard that mortgage rates have gone up in recent weeks. Economists say this reflects both concern about growing government deficits and increased strength in America’s recovery.

Yet be assured that rates remain at comfortably-low levels. In 2010 the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate home loans reached its lowest point in 55 years, says mortgage investment firm Freddie Mac.

And just to show you how real estate values have climbed over the years, the average price of a home then was $22,000. Currently a typical house costs $172,000.

LOWER RATES

Today’s rates are among the best we’ve experienced in recent years. And it’s possible to substantially reduce your housing cost with an adjustable-rate loan.

Adjustable mortgages have an initial period when their rate doesn’t change, before moving into a time frame when their rates will reflect market conditions.

Some households find ARMs help by giving them low payments for years. If they plan on moving at a set point in the future – or expect their income to rise or expenses to drop – an adjustable loan poses little risk.

Borrowers recently could obtain an ARM with payments which wouldn’t change for five years at a rate of more than one percentage point below what they’d pay for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. Homebuyers were able to save $126 each month on a $200,000 mortgage as a result.

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