While we can't predict how long the interest rate will stay below 5%, the lowest average since 1971, this latest incentive could help the housing market step toward recovery and help more families have a place to call home.
Lock boxes are on doors, the open house sign possibly points to your next home and realtors say the housing market has returned to a buyers market.
Karla Martin is a sales associate for Crye-Leike. She explains, "Interest rates are so incredibly low, they're under five-percent right now which allows a home buyer to get much more of a house for their money. Or buy a smaller house and have extremely low payments, lower than renting a property actually."
Martin is showing a lakefront home with all the amenities. It's priced to sell but there is a lot of competition. She adds, "The inventory is higher."
And because buyers know they're in the driver seat, they are taking their time, being more selective and putting in lower than normal offers because if they are denied, they know there are more choices.
Martins laughs, "We call them low-ball offers. They are trying to get the best deal they can. The seller pretty much sticks to the price they have as far as what we've seen because it's already a good deal."
As rates fall to a historic low, lenders are raising the bar, making it harder to qualify.
Realtor Krista Tressner says, "I know it can be very discouraging if you don't get approved at the first bank you go to but we really encourage people to continue to look."
Tressner is in the market for a home because of the mortgage rates. Although the tax credit gave folks immediate gratification, Tressner says, long-term, with rates this low, you can get more bang for your buck.
She continues, "If you consider some people will own a home for 30 years and they'll pay that mortgage out. You're saving a lot more than $8,000 in that time."
The game has changed a bit but there are still winners. Martin concludes, "We're still receiving phone calls, we're listing homes and we're still selling homes. It is really good."
Martin says time will tell if the low mortgage rates will increase the housing demand once again.