Last Updated on June 3, 2017 by Andrew Lee
Serving as the headquarter location of 1,700 companies and organizations from all over the world, Georgia boasts of many different strong industries, contributing to its solid economy. This is one of the reasons behind the high employment rate in the state. Add to this the fact that it possesses beautiful natural resources, including majestic waterfalls, rivers, and nature trails to name a few, and there’s no wonder many people choose to call it a home. (Source: Livability.com)
Savannah, Augusta, and Macon are three of its best cities. Overall though, cost of living is lower in the state than in many other parts of the country. (Source: Sperling’s Best Places)
Home Buying Expectations
On average, home value in The Peach State is $153,000, much lower than the national average (Source: Zillow). Average mortgage rates are also lower than the all of the country combined.
For instance, an average single-family home can fetch a value of $124,739.26. This type of residential dwelling accounts for 86.80% of all houses in the state. Condominiums make up 5.30% of the housing industry, with an average property value of $138,551.07. Representing 5.40% of the market are PUD homes, with values averaging at $132,935.34. Only 2.50% of the state’s residents live in townhomes, but for those looking to purchase one, expect an average value of $104,987.50. (Source: SmartAsset)
Differentiating Fixed-Rate Mortgages from Adjustable-Rate Mortgages
Like in every other part of the country, home buyers usually have to apply for a mortgage to finance their purchase. There are two main mortgage types: the fixed-rate and the adjustable-rate (also called variable-rate). Each has their own benefits and drawbacks, and understanding what these are can help consumers make the right choice.
Borrowers who want as little risk as possible will find a fixed-rate mortgage as the better choice between the two. These home loans have interest rates that don’t change, regardless of what happens to the market. In other words, even if the market crashes (or improves), their monthly payments will remain the same until they finish paying off their debts.
However, since no change will happen to the rates, those who have this type of mortgage won’t have the chance to enjoy lower monthly payments in the event the market performs well. Only those who have the adjustable-rate mortgage can reap the benefits of an improved housing market.
When Mortgage Insurance Comes into the Picture
Overall mortgage-related expenditures can significantly increase with the addition of mortgage insurance. This type of insurance protects lenders if the borrower can’t continue making loan payments or if they default on their mortgage.
Not everyone has to purchase this. Consumers who can make a down payment of at least 20% typically don’t have to add this to their monthly housing loan expenditures. Those who fail to meet down payment requirements, or those who have a questionable credit rating have a higher likelihood of having to get it though.
This said, borrowers who have a less-than-stellar credit score rating should do everything they can to improve it first. Aside from helping them avoid the additional expense that comes with mortgage insurance, a better FICO score can also mean lower interest rates.
Seeking Help for Securing a Mortgage
Several programs designed to assist first-time buyers and existing mortgage borrowers are available in the state.
For instance, consumers who need help buying their first home can qualify for aid through the Georgia Dream Homeownership Program. It offers down payment assistance, as well as first mortgage loans and home buying education.
Those at risk of foreclosure can also seek guidance and help with HomeSafe Georgia. This state-operated mortgage assistance program is funded by the federal government, and offers assistance for mortgage payments, payment reduction, and loan reinstatement.
HomeSafe Georgia: https://www.homesafegeorgia.com/
Georgia Dream Homeownership Program: https://www.dca.ga.gov/GeorgiaDream/