WASHINGTON -- Mortgage rates have reached their lowest levels in six decades, making this the best time in most Americans' lives to buy or refinance a home. For people who qualify, today's rates could save thousands of dollars a year.
Yet most people can't take advantage. Half of would-be buyers say they'll never save enough for the 20 percent down payment now usually required. And shrunken home values have erased much of the equity that people need to refinance.
"Low rates are great, but the real issue is that the pool of people who can get a loan or refinance is small," said Greg McBride, Bankrate.com's senior financial analyst.
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