Home interest rates drop to to historic lows in pandemic

Home interest rates drop to to historic lows in pandemic
The COVID-19 virus and the shutting down of many businesses has caused a global economic disruption both in the Lowcountry and around the nation. (Source: CNN/File)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - If you are thinking about buying a house, believe it or not, now may be a great time to do it.

The COVID-19 virus and the shutting down of many businesses has caused a global economic disruption both in the Lowcountry and around the nation.

South Carolina Federal Credit Union CEO Scott Woods says he hasn’t seen financial rates this low in 13 years.

“The virus, the pandemic, has certainly caused a global disruption, and obvious disruption here in the United States. To respond to this, the federal reserve has dropped the, what we call the fed rate or the treasury discount rate, to almost zero percent, it’s a quarter-point. Very, very low," Woods says. “And also the national mortgage rates are also dropping. Those are set primarily by government-sponsored agencies like Fannie Mae, and they’re based off of the benchmark 10-year treasury rate.”

This means it is now cheaper for people to borrow money from a bank or credit union for a mortgage.

This time of year is usually when the economy here in Charleston is booming because we’re coming out of the winter slump and getting ready for tourism season.

"Right now we see, in the Charleston market, fantastic rates are available from multiple institutions," he says. "Inventories are high. Some folks are hanging on to their houses, but many folks are looking to sell, especially and builders are looking to increase their inventories. You combine those opportunities with rates that are available, this is a unique buying opportunity if that fits your personal needs and your families needs."

Credit Unions says this is still the beginning, as their mortgage application pipeline has tripled in the last few days.

"I would advise them to look and say, 'ok we've got a window here that I could possibly, buy a home, re-finance my home, or upgrade my home, and is now the time to do it?'" he says. "I know there is a lot of uncertainty in the economy and of course any lenders going to look at the job situation or the income situation of the applicant, but if all of those line up for the applicant, I would certainly going and taking a look at taking advantage of these interest rates that are out there."

Woods says based on medical predictions, as well as how interest rates usually cycle, you have about 60 to 90 days to buy or re-finance if you are able.

Woods says you can also take advantage of the low rates to buy car or anything you might have to finance.

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