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Low interest: Nothing lasts forever

By Staff
BUILDING HOMES Meridian Community College student Chad Thompson saws a piece of plywood, while classmates Wesley Morgan, left, and Walter Whitehead nail plywood in a new house in the Windmill Crossings subdivision of North Meridian. The students are in MCC's construction trades program. Local residents are taking advantage of recent low mortgage interest rates to build homes like this one for less money. PHOTO BY FREDIE CARMICHAEL / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Oct. 27, 2002
When Brad McNeil bought his two-bedroom bachelor pad at Dalewood Lakes last month, the mechanic and professional boxer got a pleasant surprise: A low interest rate on his mortgage.
McNeil snagged a 30-year mortgage with Creative Mortgage Co. in Meridian at 6.75 percent interest.
McNeil is one of hundreds of people in Meridian who have taken advantage of some of the lowest home mortgage interest rates in decades by either buying new homes or refinancing existing loans.
Just within the past three years, interest rates have taken a dramatic fall.
The interest rate for a 30-year conventional home mortgage was an average 7.84 percent on Oct. 12, 2000. The interest rate for the same loan was an average 5.98 percent on Oct. 10, 2002.
The lower rates allow homeowners to sometimes save hundreds of dollars a month in interest added to their monthly house note. It also allows people to buy more house for less money.
Some Meridian lenders said that while interest rates have steadily remained low in recent months, indicators show that they may be on their way back up in the near future.
Interest rates first started falling below 7 percent in summer 2001. And some local mortgage company officials said that's when they became overloaded with loan applications.
Gay Lynn Price, office manager at Creative Mortgage, agreed.
Even though home mortgage rates have been low, some Mississippi contractors say home starts in the state have not risen as fast as many people expected.
Milstead said the rise-and-fall of interest rates does, however, affect the home building market.
In Meridian, Donnie Massey, a member of the Home Builders Association of Meridian and owner of D &H Construction Co., said his business has seen a slight increase.
Massey's company is currently finishing its third home in Pecan Place an up-scale subdivision in Bailey. Massey is also building several other homes around Lauderdale County.
While the rates remain low, experts say that one trend likely will continue: People like McNeil will try to snag a low-interest loan and fulfill their dream of owning a home.