By Christine DiGangi
A property with an affordable listing price is only part of finding a home within your budget, because if you can't access low mortgage rates, you may not be able to buy as much house as you hoped. Your mortgage rate heavily depends on you: your credit score, your ability to repay the loan, your track record with meeting debt obligations and the size of your down payment. At the same time, your mortgage rate is in some ways beyond your control, because unless you're looking to move to a place where financing is cheap, you're stuck with the trends in your state. Depending on where you live, that can be good or bad news.
10 States With the Lowest Average Mortgage Rates
To find the most affordable mortgage rates across the U.S., GoBankingRates and RateWatch analyzed interest rates across the country and published their rankings earlier this month. More than half of the states on the low-rate list are located on the East Coast. Regional markets have an affect on rates, but the price of a home loan depends on the applicant.
No matter where you live, if you have terrible credit and can't show you're capable of repaying the loan, you're likely to qualify for much higher mortgage rates than average, assuming you qualify at all. As far as geography goes, here are the 10 states with the lowest average mortgage rates:
10. New Hampshire -- 3.649%.
9. Minnesota -- 3.623%.
8. Hawaii -- 3.603%.
7. Mississippi -- 3.599%.
6. Massachusetts -- 3.597%.
5. Maryland -- 3.593%.
4. Pennsylvania -- 3.551%.
3. Nevada -- 3.459%.
2. Connecticut -- 3.413%.
1. Rhode Island -- 3.359%.
The weighted averages were calculated from a database including 102,000 15- and 30-year fixed and five-year adjustable-rate mortgage products on July 3. On the opposite end, Nebraska had the highest average rate at 4.102 percent. The national average was about 3.747 percent, which is quite low, historically speaking. Fixed mortgage rates peaked at more than 18 percent in 1981, and pre-recession averages were in the 6 percent range.
Local rates depend on a few things, like supply and demand, home prices and default risk in the area, but if affordability is your goal, you should focus on your credit. The best interest rates are available to those with the highest credit scores, and because your credit score is based on your credit history, you'll want to make sure your credit reports are in good shape. (Here's how to get your credit reports for free.)
Credit scores are based on five main factors: payment history, debt use, average age of accounts, account mix and number of inquiries. Well in advance of house hunting, you should pull your credit reports to make sure they're accurate, and you should see how you fare in those five categories by reviewing your credit scores regularly.
To see how your history affects your credit score, you can review two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com, with updates available every 30 days.
By Christine DiGangi