If you're considering purchasing a home, now might be the time.

According to bankrate.com, while the Fed doesn’t set mortgage rates directly, the central bank does set the overall rate environment. The Fed severely cut rates when the coronavirus recession began, and has made indications that it will keep rates low for years to come, which in turn will translate to little upward pressure on mortgage rates. As Covid-19 vaccines are distributed, and the economy begins to improve, this tends to correlate to increasing mortgage rates. However, it is unlikely that mortgage rates will soar, according to Gregg McBride, CFA, Bankrate chief financial analyst. The rates will still be quite attractive for purchases. The rate environment should not be your only deciding factor in jumping into home ownership. You will need to take into account the cost of homeowner insurance and property taxes, as well as Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) if you won't have 20% to put towards a down payment. Home ownership also comes with maintenance and you will want to consider those costs, as well as the time involved in activities such as mowing a lawn, that may currently be taken care of by your landlord.

The positive side of owning your own home means you will have a long term investment and you have something to show for those monthly payments. As is the case when it comes to real estate, it often comes down to location. Outside of the major metropolitan areas, or 53% of the country’s housing markets, you are better off buying than renting, according to ATTOM Data Solutions’ 2020 Rental Affordability Report. Your house payment may indeed be less than what you are currently paying in rent. On a national average, renters can expect to spend 30 percent of their income on rent, while buyers can expect to spend 15 percent of their monthly income on a mortgage payment. Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will probably make in your lifetime. Make sure you are comfortable with your finances and understand the total cost of home ownership by using our Rent vs. Buy mortgage calculators. This calculator helps you weed through the fees, taxes and monthly payments to help you make a decision between the two options. When you are ready to purchase, contact a Citizens National Bank mortgage lender to help you through the application process and understand the mortgage options available.

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