Overview of Alabama Mortgages
In a state lineup, Alabama ranks nearly dead center in terms of its number of citizens. Its mortgage market follows suit, coming in right around average compared to historical national rates. For the most part, Alabama counties’ conforming loan limits and FHA loan limits hover around average.
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Alabama Mortgage Rates Quick Facts
Historical Mortgage Rates in Alabama
Alabama mortgage rates align closely with the national average. So far, 2016 Alabama mortgage rates are slightly higher than 2015 rates.
Alabama Historic Mortgage Rates
|Year||Alabama Rate||U.S. Rate|
Alabama Mortgages Overview
Alabama is one of the more affordable states to purchase a mortgage. The average single-family home is $122,900, which is below the nation’s average of $217,600, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Alabama Mortgage Rates
|Percentage of Homes||93.40%|
|Average Property Value||$89,616.85|
|Percentage of Homes||2.60%|
|Average Property Value||$154,454.81|
|Percentage of Homes||2.60%|
|Average Property Value||$116,806.58|
|Percentage of Homes||1.30%|
|Average Property Value||$49,696.91|
Every county in the state has a standard conforming loan limit of $417,000. That data once again puts Alabama at an average, affordable level compared to the rest of the country.
Conforming and FHA Loan Limits by County
|County||Conforming Limit||FHA Limit|
It’s important to note that Alabama is a “caveat emptor,” also known as a “buyer beware” state. That means responsibility falls heavily on the buyer to uncover any defects with the property prior to purchasing. In this case, property inspections are an incredibly valuable tool to verify a property is at a level of quality that the buyer is comfortable with. Home inspections are not mandatory, but they are absolutely critical to the integrity of a purchase. Following through on a sale without an inspection generally means a buyer is accepting the property as-is.
30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates in Alabama
Fixed-rate mortgages tend to be the best mortgage option for buyers who plan to stay in their home for the long haul. 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are the most common type of home mortgage. You can also get a fixed-rate mortgage with a 15-year term and pay a lower interest rate, but your monthly payments will be higher.
The average Alabama mortgage rate for fixed-rate 30-year mortgages is 5.12%.
Alabama Jumbo Loan Rates
Homes in Alabama tend to be on the more affordable end. Because of that, there are fewer “jumbo loan” mortgages in Alabama. These loans exceed the $417,000 conforming loan limit that exists in every Alabama county. If you are considering a jumbo loan for your mortgage, be aware that they come with higher interest rates.
Conforming loan limits exist because issuing a loan beyond that price is riskier for lenders. There is more money at stake, so the higher mortgage interest rate on jumbo loans is meant to compensate for the added risk.
The average jumbo loan rate in Alabama is 4.49%.
Alabama ARM Loan Rates
An ARM is an adjustable-rate mortgage that typically offers a lower interest rate upfront than a fixed-rate mortgage. The lower rate is available for an initial, introductory period that may last for 1, 3, 5, 7 or 10 years, depending on the terms of the loan. After that initial period, the mortgage interest rate can “adjust”, which generally means it will rise.
The good news is that an adjustable-rate mortgage’s interest rate can’t suddenly jump to an obscenely high level. The interest rate is capped at a specific level in the loan’s terms, which protects you from that scenario. So you will know upfront what the highest possible rate could be.
However, the loan rate may still adjust to a level that you can’t afford. Before deciding on an ARM, it’s best to assess the potential maximum interest rate listed in the terms to see if it’s something you would be comfortable paying.
The average rate for an ARM in Alabama is 2.62%.
Alabama Mortgage Resources
Need help with your Alabama mortgage? Whether you’re hoping to cut costs or just learn more about the home-buying process, there are resources available for you.
The Alabama Housing Finance Agency (AHFA) offers two programs to help you get started. The Step Up program was designed to help mid-range homebuyers who can afford a mortgage but need more assistance with their down payment. The funds for the down payment are secured with a second mortgage and combined with a standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
The AHFA also offers a Mortgage Credit Certificate, which reduces homebuyers’ federal income tax to free up income for a mortgage qualification.
If you’re struggling with your mortgage and are concerned you might go into foreclosure, the Hardest Hit Alabama program can help. Eligible homeowners can receive unemployed or underemployed mortgage help, loan modification and lien extinguishment.
|Resource||Problem or Issue||Who Qualifies||Website|
|Alabama Housing Finance Authority||Offers down payment assistance, affordable loans and a mortgage credit certificate.||First or repeat homebuyers who are eligible.||http://www.ahfa.com/homebuyers/programs_available.aspx|
|Hardest Hit Alabama||Foreclosure protection.||At-risk homeowners who need help keeping their homes.||http://www.hardesthitalabama.com/|
|USDA Rural Development - Single family loans||Offers low-interest loans to buy, build, repair, or own safe and affordable homes in rural America.||Applicants must be without decent, safe and sanitary housing; Be unable to obtain a loan from other resources on terms and conditions that can reasonably be expected to meet; Agree to occupy the property as your primary residence; Have the legal capacity to incur a loan obligation; Meet citizenship or eligible noncitizen requirements; Not be suspended or debarred from participation in federal programs.||http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/all-programs/single-family-housing-programs|
|Home Affordable Refinance Program||Refinancing.||Single family homes and condos that fit within lending loan limits.||http://www.harp.gov/|
In Alabama, you may also qualify for assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development. The program is intended to help rural communities by offering aid in securing safe, affordable housing. Loans and grants are available for people looking to purchase a new home or repair their current home.
Alabama Mortgage Taxes
Homeowners are allowed to deduct the mortgage interest they pay when they file their federal income taxes (up to $1,000,000), and this applies for Alabama state income taxes as well. You can double your deductions for the qualifying mortgage interest payments you have made in the tax year by including it on both state and federal filings.
Alabama also charges taxes on real estate property title transfers. The state real estate transfer tax for Alabama is 0.1% per $500 of transferred value for deeds and 0.15% per $100 of transferred value for mortgages. Discuss this tax with your lawyer or accountant before buying; in Alabama, the buyer typically pays this tax.
Alabama Mortgage Refinance
If you’re looking to refinance your mortgage in Alabama, the HARP Refinance Program of Alabama is an excellent resource. If you qualify, you will have access to interest and principal payment reductions and low closing costs. The Alabama HARP program accepts single family homes and condos.
If you don’t qualify for HARP or a similar program, you can still work with the lender who issued you your original mortgage and compare those rates with other lenders to find the solution that works best for you.
Best Places To Get A Mortgage
SmartAsset’s interactive mortgage map highlights the best counties in the country (and in each state) for securing a mortgage. Hover over counties and states to see data points for each region, or use the map’s tabs to view the top counties for each of the factors driving our analysis.
Methodology For many people buying a house means securing a mortgage. To determine the best places in the country to get a mortgage we looked at four factors: overall borrowing costs, ease of securing a mortgage, cheap property taxes and cheap annual mortgage payments.
To calculate the overall borrowing costs, we looked at the expected costs over the first five years of a $200,000 mortgage with a 20% down payment, including closing costs. We calculated the ease of getting a mortgage as the ratio of mortgage applications to actual mortgage originations (secured mortgages) in each county. We based annual mortgage payments on the annual principal and interest payments for a $200,000 loan in that location, using average mortgage rates in each county.
Finally, we ranked locations based on these four factors, and then averaged those rankings, giving equal weight to each factor. The areas with the lowest average rankings are the best places to get a mortgage.
Sources: Mortgage Bankers Association, US Census Bureau 2015 5-Year American Community Survey, Informa, Bankrate, government websites, SmartAsset