One Size, er, Rate Doesn’t Fit All
One of the more noteworthy features of today’s mortgage market, besides greater volatility and generally declining rates, is the wide range in quoted interest rates.
For sterling credit risks — credit scores in the high seven hundred’s or above, plenty of existing home equity (or a fat down payment, if buying new), stable jobs, etc. — the gates of “(re)financing heaven” are very much open. If that’s you, you can walk through and borrow at 30 year rates well below 5%.
However, if you don’t meet those criteria — and anywhere from half to two-thirds of all prospective borrowers/re-financers now don’t — Fuhgettaboutit.
It’s also the case that people applying for jumbo loans are being quoted substantially higher rates than for so-called conforming loans (generally, under $417,000), because the latter can still be re-sold on the secondary market, while the former can’t.
What that means for consumers is that there isn’t one prevailing interest rate anymore — they’re dozens, depending on your profile and borrowing needs.
Amongst other things, that makes using the Internet and shopping for rates a little more daunting now. It also makes good lending relationships more valuable.
That’s because, while money may be a commodity (“fungible”) . . . prospective borrowers are unique.