Home Price vs. Loan Rate: Best-Deal Secrets

Trying to determine the best time to jump into the housing market is always a bit of a gamble. But in this market, with the news see-sawing between stalled housing prices and falling interest rates, it's even harder to gauge whether today is the right day to buy a house.

"There are all kinds of ways to look at it," says Stephen Slotnick, a mortgage consultant with Prospect Mortgage in Maplewood, N.J. "But my first questions to a borrower are always, 'Where would you be comfortable? How much can you afford on a monthly basis?' Because what a buyer needs to find is a home that -- between the cost of the home and the interest rate -- creates a mortgage payment that they can comfortably pay."

Slotnick pointed out that generally, a lower interest rate means you can afford more house. Which means, with interest rates at historically low levels, homebuyers are able to consider homes now that just two years ago might have been out of reach.