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How to's and money-saving tips from resident homeowner and mortgage professional, Cathy West

Home prices in some markets continue to rise to all-time highs

Millions of Americans may be thinking about the ways in which they can get into the housing markets these days. However, a lot of them might find themselves at least a little discouraged by the conditions of affordability, which have been changing rapidly for some time now. Mortgage rates have once again started to creep up on a national level, while a large and growing number of markets are starting to reach some of the highest levels ever observed – surpassing even pre-recession norms – to drive affordability down significantly.

The fact of the matter is, too, that both these things are only likely to keep moving upward over the course of 2016. While some of the country's biggest markets continue to lag well below the levels seen prior to the economic downturn (largely because of how prevalent foreclosure was in those places), and others are plateauing after huge surges in the last few years, many continue to take big steps forward every month or two. That can create problematic conditions for would-be buyers in those places who aren't too keen on moving, especially if they're younger borrowers who have never gone through the mortgage process before.

Why is this happening?
With the economy recovering, it's becoming apparent that all the polls in the last few years were true: Consumers – even those hit hardest by the downturn – have long held dreams of homeownership that were not in any way deterred by the housing market's meltdown. As such, it's unlikely that rising prices or mortgage rates are necessarily going to be deterred by rising rates and prices. They could, however, find themselves set back by them.

The conditions of affordability in the market over the last few years have created a pretty low bar for many Americans to clear when it comes to buying a home, but economic improvement keeps boosting that bar upward in some ways. Even as lenders make it very slightly easier to qualify for a mortgage as far as credit restrictions are concerned, many would-be buyers may still be dealing with issues related to being able to actually afford a 20 percent down payment plus closing costs, the combined value of which can easily stretch toward $50,000 depending on what – and where – they want to buy.

What can be done?
There's not likely to be a whole lot consumers can do when it comes to keeping prices and rates from rising, obviously, but they may be able to help guarantee themselves more affordability in other ways. For instance, if they can improve their credit scores to be as good as they can possibly manage over the course of the next year or so, they may be able to increase their access to the lowest rates lenders have to offer. The quicker they can do that, the better off they're likely to be when it comes to locking in low rates and prices.

To receive a free quote, simply visit www.capwestmortgage.com/quote or call (866) 614-5959 to speak with a CapWest Mortgage representative today.

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