(MONEY Magazine) — Just when it looked as if mortgage rates couldn’t fall any further, they did.
Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (excluding jumbos) hit an average of 4.3% in September, the lowest level since 1953, according to Freddie Mac, and are still hovering below 4.5%.
Fifteen-year rates are even more mouthwatering: 3.8%. Mind you, those are averages. The most creditworthy borrowers can do even better, snagging rates perhaps a quarter of a percentage point lower.
So what’s in this for you? A lot, potentially. If you have a credit score of 720 or higher and at least 20% equity in your home, you might use these crazy-low rates to shorten your mortgage term, free up cash, or even add to your real estate holdings, for example.
Whatever you decide, don’t wait too long. Home prices expected to slide another 8%
“The consensus is that rates will gradually move up in the new year,” says Frank Nothaft, chief economist for Freddie Mac. Freddie projects that the average 30-year fixed will hit 5% by the end of 2011.