Mortgage rates are at their lowest level in over 35 years now, and most people should be able to get a 30 year fixed rate of 5.19% on new home purchases. That’s just phenomenal, especially when you consider that it was just five years ago when most people were able to lock in refinancing rates on their homes of anywhere between 5.75% and 6%, which my wife and I got because we missed by a week the chance to get the lower rate.

At least that was the official rate that was being quoted by Freddie Mac. Rates on 30-year, fixed mortgages was 5.06 percent, according to financial publisher HSH Associates, the lowest since the 1960s and down from 5.3 percent on Tuesday, December 16th.

Here’s the problem. Though these are phenomenal rates, because of financial fears only people and families with great credit are going to be able to take advantage of these rates.

Therein lies the problem with some of these programs. If you’re in some sort of distress, you’re the one who needs to be able to take advantage of deals like this, but because the economy is in such a state of flux, and many mortgage companies are taking heat for giving out loans to people with precarious financial situations in the first place, they’re not willing to try to give a break to those who need it. Therefore, these interest rate cuts are basically meaningless except for a very select few people.

That doesn’t seem to be stopping people from trying. Mortgage application volumes have jumped, as more and more borrowers are trying to seize on lower rates to refinance home loans, as stated by the Mortgage Bankers Association. It will be interesting to see if any of these same companies share with us just how many of these people will be turned down because their credit history is somewhat shaky.

This is going to be a recurring problem with stimulus packages that go through many of these companies. Just like many taxes and credit cards, the people who really need the help are the ones who are going to get penalized.

It’s estimated that billions of dollars could be saved across the board by those people who do qualify, but my belief is that it’s going to reach a billion only because the numbers have to favor that figure, not because it’s going to help all that many people in the end.

I understand the importance of credit (FICO) scores in determining the financial viability of potential credit users, but I also believe that there should be an extra effort to look into the credit history of some of the people who are looking for help before the economy started to tank. In this instance, even many celebrities wouldn’t look like good credit risks, as many monthly mortgage payments ballooned when this crisis hit.

Still, it’s a start, and it doesn’t hurt anyone to give it a shot. Just don’t get your hopes up too much and count on the savings and the extra money before you’ve been approved.

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