From a number of perspectives, I believe the answer is YES! Now is a great time for a pastor to buy a home instead of living in a parsonage or renting. Here’s why:
- Mortgage rates are at the lowest level ever. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to an all-time low of 3.94 percent this week.
- Housing prices are at 10 to 15-year lows in many communities. In other words, you can get a lot of house today for a whole lot less than it used to cost.
- While no one knows what the future holds, many economists believe we’re at the bottom of the “bottoming out” of the housing market, meaning that if you buy “low” now, you’ll gain equity quicker as the housing markets rebound in the coming months and years.
However, while mortgage rates have never been better, qualifying for a mortgage loan is getting more difficult. Here’s why:
- Many mortgage lenders now require a 20 percent downpayment which is a real struggle for pastors who don’t have a lot of cash on hand.
- Mortgage lenders are requiring higher credit scores.
As with anything, it’s good to shop around and check rates and qualifications at several lending institutions.
I’d suggest that you start with the financial institution(s) you already have a relationship with. Be sure to check at least one credit union in your community. And don’t forget to check with online mortgage lenders too.