I bought my first home in the mid-’70’s, and then bought again in about 1983. Even though interest rates were “obscene,” (seems like ours was somewhere around 17.5%) somehow we managed to make it work. Builders and sellers routinely bought down rates and prices were considerably lower.
I was reminded of this fact this morning when receiving a marketing piece by one of my favorite statistical companies, Estate of Mind. Simple little graphs like this one provide such a powerful visual guide of just how far interest rates have dropped and the resulting impact in purchasing power.
Now, granted, $1,500 was certainly a lot more money in the pocket in 1981 than it is now … and a home at just over $100,000 at least compared with the the $300,000 home in today’s market. (That cute little 3 bed/1.75 bath 1300 square foot house we bought at $89k is now worth about $250k.)
But what this graph does show is, on the short term, that $1,500 at today’s phenominal interest rates will buy more now than it will as interest rates rise. I wish this chart included an overlay that showed the average interest with reasonably comparable terms year by year … but the cart was free and helps get the point across — Buying at lower rates buys more house!
For a full size copy of this chart, click here.