Packed In: Mortgage rates hit highest level in 12 years… and they’re still rising

SPOKANE, Wash. – As more people move to the Inland Northwest, buying a house gets even harder. 

Mortgage rates hit their highest level in 12 years and they are still rising. 

Loan company Freddie Mac says the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is 5.11 percent. That is more than two points higher than this time last year. 

Couple that with high demand and rising prices – and buyers are struggling. 

“It’s definitely made things a lot more difficult,” said Jacob Stirpe. He’s in the market to buy his first home.

Stirpe says he’s put in multiple offers, but they all failed, in favor of buyers with cash-in-hand and untraditional competitors.

“Even investors, they’re coming in and they’re putting bids on 10 plus homes,” he added. “They can afford to do that because they’re a large corporation.”

Real estate agents are trying to guide buyers along their home-buying journey. They say it’s definitely difficult but not impossible. 

“They’re seeing their buying power erode,” said realtor Brian Zapotocky.

He says with a $350,000 home, his buyers are looking at mortgages around $2,500 a month. With the median home price in Spokane sitting at $430,000, that means most monthly payments are even higher. 

“You’re in the $3,000, $4,000, $5,000 bucks a month sometimes,” Zapotocky said. “It’s getting really high.” 

Zapotocky says thinking outside the box will go a long way when searching for a home. 

“All hands on deck — try to get as much cash in, make sure your credit scores are fantastic. Anything you can do to help yourself — take a second job,” Zapotocky added. “It’s just whatever you can do. Everything is on the table.”

He also suggests:

  1. Using first time home buyer programs.
  2. Asking your family for help.
  3. Making sure you’re within your means becuase higher mortgage rates mean higher monthly payments.

Stirpe says he’s still house hunting for now but isn’t sure if he’ll secure his first home if rising rates force him out.

“I do fear that if they continue to rise I’m not going to be able to qualify for the same amount, so that’s definitely a major concern,” Stirpe said.

The National Association of Realtors says these high prices are diminishing home sales nationwide, which are at the slowest pace in nearly two years. 

They also predict 1.9 million first-time homebuyers in the U.S. will be priced out this year.

READ: Packed In: Family loses home in fire, finding rent double the price of their mortgage