Thinking about buying a house? Not a lot of people are these days. But two pieces of data show why now is one of the best times in decades to buy.
First is the average interest rate on 30-year mortgages. Rates have utterly plunged, now at a new all-time low of 3.84%, according to Freddie Mac:
Source: Freddie Mac.
You can't understate how big a difference this makes when financing a home. If you want a $1,500 monthly mortgage payment on a 30-year loan, a 3.84% interest rate will get you a $320,000 loan. With an interest rate of 7% -- what it was a decade ago -- $1,500 a month will only get you $225,000.
And not only is financing a home as cheap as it's ever been, but home prices are as cheap as they've been in over a decade. Adjusted for inflation, nationwide home prices are now about on par with their 100-year average, according to Yale economist Robert Shiller's data:
Source: Robert Shiller.
Real estate is all about local markets, so nationwide averages like these might not apply directly to you. But it's a good indication that, for most potential homebuyers, now is probably one of the best times to buy in decades.
Does that mean a new boom is around the corner? Shiller doesn't think so. Check out what he had to say when I asked him about future gains in this interview.Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Follow him on Twitter @TMFHousel. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.