A 30-year fixed rate mortgage is still below 4% in many cases and even lower for 20- and 15-year mortgages. The Federal Reserve has cut interest rates three times in 2019, which longtime loan originator Richard Mantyla says lowers the rate at which banks can borrow on an overnight basis. That, in turn, impacts the rate at which consumers pay to borrow money.

"Mortgage rates are market-driven and they're driven by investors future expectation of inflation. Inflation is actually lower than what the Fed would like it to be at right now. So that's the main reason they're cutting interest rates because they want to stimulate the economy and hopefully cause inflation to go up slightly," said Mantyla who is with Residential Mortgage in Anchorage.

He added, "Last week the Fed said they expect the inflation rate to remain low for a long time. As a result, we think that mortgage rates are going to stay low. There's no reason for rates to go up right now because inflation remains in check."

Mantyla says rates could stay lower for the next six months to a year. He says people are taking advantage of lower rates and that has made for some competition in the market.

"This definitely makes homes more affordable and it creates demand," he said.

Mantyla says anyone looking for a home should first get pre-approved for a loan so they know their options. He says being pre-approved allows a buyer to move forward right away if they find a home they like.

"The sellers generally won't accept an offer until they know the buyer's been pre-approved," he said.

Depending on a person's original interest rate, Mantyla says some people can save a lot of money by refinancing.

"If you switch to a 15-year loan you can easily save over $100,000 in interest switching from a 30 to 15," said Mantyla.

Mantyla says even if someone refinances at a 30-year rate they can still save with lower monthly payments of possibly a few hundred dollars. When refinancing, he says people should want to get at least half a percentage point improvement of their current rate to make the switch worthwhile.

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