Rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage have hovered around 4% in the past week after hitting a 12-month high near 5% in November. While those tenths of a percentage point will matter to your clients’ monthly payments and how much they can afford, taking a step back can reveal just how inexpensive homebuying is right now. 

Mortgage rates neared 19% in the early 1980s before dropping off by the ’90s and staying under 10% since 1991. During the run-up to the housing crisis, rates for a 30-year mortgage neared 7% before reaching post-crisis lows of 3.31% in 2012. 

30-year fixed rate mortgage average in the United States from 1971 till May 2019

Homeowners who have taken out a mortgage in the past decade have been able to borrow at historically low interest rates. More than 80% of households with a mortgage pay between 3% and 5.9% in interest, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Housing Survey. Nearly 95% of mortgage holders have fixed-payment mortgages.

Shopping around for the best rate will save your clients money, and they can use online tools like from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to examine how rates will impact their monthly payments. But week-to-week fluctuations in mortgage rates shouldn’t obscure how relatively inexpensive borrowing for a home is currently.