Personal Finance

Record-Low Mortgage Rates: Basement for Sellers?

Richard Satran, Editor

Remember when a six percent mortgage seemed like a bargain? That is a piece of ancient history from Year One BC (Before the Collapse — also known as 2007 AD). At the end of the Bush Administration, rates below 7 percent were something of a bargain.

This chart, from the home lending quasi-agency Freddie Mac, shows how rates have peeled back about one percentage point each year since the Deluge, based on the 30-year mortgage. They dropped to six percent in 2008, the fives in ’09, the fours in ’10, and the three’s late last year. Easy to read as a sundial. Rates gyrated from 8 percent to 16 percent through presidencies past. (The peak was 18.63 percent in October 1981.)