Mortgage rates remain low fueling the flames of a scorching housing market

Mortgages rates continue to stay extremely low despite recent moves by the Federal Reserve to increase short-term interest rates.

Freddie Mac's weekly survey of mortgage rates released Thursday showed that rates on 30-year, fixed rate mortgages averaged 5.63 percent for the week ending Feb. 3, down from 5.66 percent last week.

Low mortgage rates powered sales of both new and existing homes to all-time highs in 2004, the fourth straight year that sales in both categories have set records.

All of this means that, despite fairly high prices, it is still an excellent time to purchase or refinance a home

Analysts are forecasting housing will enjoy another good year in 2005 with sales dipping by around 3 percent, a decline that would still give the country the second-highest levels for sales of new and existing homes.

To illustrate the importance of small differences in interest rates, consider the following example, using a 30-year fixed mortgage, with a principal of $300,000 and taxes and insurance of $3,500 per year.

Rate Total Pmt. Rate Total Pmt.
5.25% $1,942 6.25% $2,139
5.50 $1,991 6.50 $2,188
5.75 $2,041 6.75 $2,237
6.00 $2,090 7.00 $2,288

The Internet is a great tool for searching for the best mortgages

With search features at great sites like Google, it has never been easier to find the best loan. If you don't wish to take the time to search on your own, there is an excellent company that will do all of the work for you.

FastFind MortgageTM is a marketplace designed to help you find up to four mortgage lenders who can provide you with your customized rate quote and solve your mortgage needs. FastFind carefully screens their lenders to ensure you receive a high degree of care and satisfaction from all of their lending partners. If you're looking for a mortgage on a new home, or want to refinance your existing home, FastFind is the place for you.

Not all mortgages are created equal - good mortgages help maintain your financial well-being.

Have you ever heard of Interest-Only Loans? How about Balloon Payment loans or Early Repayment Penalty loans? These types of loans exist, and can spell disaster for unsuspecting borrowers. Find out more at our bad loans page.

Good credit reports make for good interest rates on mortgages provides you with tips for ensuring that your credit score looks good to lenders. See our credit score improvement page for more information.