HONOLULU (KHON2) — Interest rates for home mortgages in Hawaii and throughout the country are the highest they have been in the last 20 years. Inflation is one factor, but a home mortgage expert said there are signs that interest rates are reaching the peak and should start coming down.
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Home buying is a concept that seems out of reach for many Millennials and younger generations.
Ryana Teral is a student at the University of Hawaii, she is studying to become a teacher and said her expected salary may need to be higher to afford a property.
Teral said, “I’m going to be a teacher so I feel like I just don’t have the salary to actually afford it.”
Besides Hawaii’s expensive real estate, mortgage interest rates are hitting above 7%, the highest in two decades. But even with that sticker shock, Central Pacific Bank’s Home Loan Division Senior Vice President Rusty Rasmussen said people should not get discouraged.
Rasmussen said, “Save money, pay down your bills, and try not to make new loans, the other thing is to organize your financial situation.”
Rasmussen said it is important to know how much money comes in and how much goes out every month and see areas where costs could be cut. He said having a good credit score could also put buyers in a better position when applying for a home loan.
“The better your credit score you get, the better rate than someone with a lower credit score,” Rasmussen said. “If your credit is really bad right now you need to know that so you can work on it.”
Student loan payments are another expense many young adults will need to take into account.
Teral said, “I already have enough with student loans so adding like a mortgage on top of that might be a little much.”
Rasmussen said people with multiple loans should prioritize paying some of those off in order to be able to afford a mortgage payment.
“You have a student loan and you have a car loan, the two of them combined is going to keep you from buying a home,” Rasmussen said. “Well, I’d work on paying down the car because that’s something that could be taken care of faster.”
There are also first-time home buyer’s loan programs and programs for military veterans and other employers that could make home-buying more accessible.
Honolulu teacher Grant King said, “There are programs out there for my profession as a teacher.”
Buying a home takes time and plenty of planning, Rasmussen said when the time comes to purchase it is likely interest rates have gone down.
He said, “We may stay there for another month or two but I believe we’ll start to see rates coming down as inflation comes down, we’re already seeing it.”
If you find a home you love, Rasmussen advises to go ahead and purchase, there will be chances to refinance once interests are at a lower rate.