The MacGowan Agency

Loans: How to Win in Today's Housing Market...
Loans: How to Win in Today's Housing Market...
ARAnet, inc.

(ARA) - For all the dire news coming out of the housing market, there's a big, shiny silver lining waiting for many homeowners and home buyers. The Federal Reserve has repeatedly dropped interest rates in the past month - good news for anyone seeking a mortgage.

"If your credit is good, you'll find it easy to get a low-rate mortgage - whether you're buying or refinancing," says Sari Irons of  "Even if your credit is not perfect, you'll still have more options to help you get out of a bad situation."

Who might benefit from the lowered interest rates? Virtually anyone, Irons says. Consider the current state of the housing market:

* In the nine-day period ending Jan. 30, the Fed sliced 1.25 points off the federal funds rate - a bank lending rate that impacts the interest consumers pay on home equity lines of credit, credit cards and auto loans - to move that rate down to just 3.0 percent.

* The Fed also trimmed the rate it charges banks to borrow directly from the Federal Reserve to just 3.5 percent, meaning it will cost banks less to use the money they lend and borrow.

* Up to $28 trillion of adjustable rate mortgages will reset to higher rates by the end of 2008. Those higher rates will cause 10 percent of all ARMs originated in the past three years to default.

"If you're facing the prospect of one of those resetting ARMs, refinancing to a fixed-rate mortgage can mean the difference between keeping your home and foreclosure," Irons says. "Fortunately, with rates near an all-time low, there are plenty of opportunities to find a better deal."

If you're a first-time home buyer or just in the market for a new home, the deals can be even better, she says. Not only are there plenty of low-rate mortgage options available, you'll have your pick of homes, too, as many are already on the market at break-even prices.

"If you're in a shaky ARM or even a fixed rate mortgage at more than 6 percent, now is the time to refinance," Irons says. "As you long as you have equity, you have options."

At, you can obtain offers from up to four lenders who will give you advice and rates as you choose your lender. The site asks basic questions such as your location, name, income, what type of loan you're looking for and your credit status. The site does not access your credit report, so completing an inquiry with them does not impact your credit score.

To tap some of the lowest mortgage rates in history, visit

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