Today’s Hawaii Mortgage Rates: What to Know Before Making a Hawaii Home Purchase

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Mortgage rates are on the rise, and home prices are still high. While home prices in Hawaii can vary based on things like location and property type, they have generally remained higher than last year, making it more challenging for buyers to afford a home. 

While home prices can be seemingly unpredictable and out of your control, first-time homebuyer programs can help. These programs can provide financial assistance to pay for things like closing costs and down payment requirements. 

Regardless of where home prices are headed, taking advantage of these programs can make homeownership more affordable for you. 

What Are Today’s Mortgage Rates in Hawaii?

For Monday, December 05, 2022, here are the current mortgage rates in Hawaii. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 6.420%. The average 30-year fixed mortgage refinance rate is 6.550%. Today, the average 15-year fixed mortgage rate is 5.670%.

Looking at variable rate loans, the average 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) rate is 5.000%. 

This information is from Bankrate’s latest survey of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders.

Current Mortgage Rates in Hawaii

Loan TypeRate
30-year Fixed6.420%
15-year Fixed5.670%
5/1 ARM5.000%
30-Year Refi6.550%

How Much Mortgage You Need to Buy a Home in Hawaii

Alongside the interest rate and loan term, your loan amount will determine your monthly payments. The amount of the mortgage you’ll need is typically calculated as the purchase price of the home minus your down payment. 

The down payment is a percentage of the purchase price. The loan program you’re applying for will determine how much you’ll need. It’s possible to qualify for a conventional loan with as little as 3% down, although you’ll need 20% to avoid the additional monthly expense of private mortgage insurance. If you can’t qualify for a conventional loan because of credit or other issues, you can also look into FHA loans, which require a slightly higher 3.5% down payment. 

Here are some typical home values and corresponding down payment amounts throughout Hawaii:

Metro AreaTypical Home Value3.5%10%20%
Urban Honolulu$934,660$32,713.10$93,466$186,932
Hilo$605,141$21,179.94$60,514.10$121,028.20
Kahului$1,099,984$38,499.44$109,998.40$219,996.80
Kapaa$970,489$33,967.12$97,048.90$194,097.80
Source: Zillow Home Value Index, September 2022

Types of Home Loans Available in Hawaii 

Different types of loans have their own features and eligibility requirements. Conventional loans tend to offer attractive rates and lower costs. FHA loans tend to be a bit more expensive, but have more flexible criteria when it comes to who can get approved. And for those who have qualifying military service, a VA loan can allow you to become a homeowner with no down payment.

“It’s always a good idea to take a look at different lenders to see what types of loans they offer”, says Robert Lopez, a mortgage loan officer with Carrington Mortgage Services. Lopez also recommends that you do some research on your own, as the lender may not always present you with the best one for your situation. For instance, he has seen that VA loans aren’t pushed nearly as often as they should be. 

Conventional 

You should not have much trouble finding a lender that offers conventional loans. These loans are the most common. They are not insured by any government agency, and tend to have more strict requirements when it comes to evaluating your credit, income, property, and assets. 

Conventional loans typically require a minimum credit score of 620, a debt-to-income ratio below 45%, and at least a 3% down payment. Depending on the details of your loan, however, you may face more limitations. For example, for borrowers who are borderline on multiple loan criteria, they may actually need a larger down payment or lower debt-to-income ratio. On the other hand, borrowers with strong credit and a large down payment might have more flexibility with a higher debt-to-income ratio. 

While conventional loans may require just a 3% down payment, keep in mind that you’ll need 20% to avoid the added monthly expense for private mortgage insurance

FHA 

An FHA loan is a government-insured loan and has more flexible criteria. If you don’t qualify for a conventional loan, an FHA loan could be a good alternative. 

These loans can be a particularly good choice if you have blemishes on your credit report. FHA loans require a slightly higher 3.5% minimum down payment, but allow for a credit score of just 580. With a 10% down payment, the minimum credit score drops to just 500. 

One of the tradeoffs of the increased flexibility however, is the fact that FHA loans tend to be a bit more expensive. In addition to closing costs typically being higher, you’ll have to pay a one-time upfront mortgage insurance premium and ongoing monthly mortgage insurance premiums. 

VA 

Another type of government-insured loan, VA loans are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. A big feature of VA loans is the fact that they require no down payment, and also do not require any mortgage insurance. However, VA loans are not open to the public, as you must meet certain criteria to be eligible for this type of loan. 

Borrowers seeking a VA loan must also meet a lender’s requirements. The Department of Veterans Affairs leaves the specific requirements up to each individual lender, so if you are turned down for a loan by one lender, it’s possible you can still be approved elsewhere. 

First Time Home Buyer Programs in Hawaii

First-time homebuyer programs can help you keep more cash in your pocket by providing additional funds to cover things like a down payment and closing costs. Certain programs may not even require monthly payments, or could be forgivable after meeting certain requirements. 

Here are a few programs available in the state of Hawaii:

  • Affordable Resale Program: Offered by the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC), the Affordable Resale Program offers first-time homebuyers the opportunity to buy repurchased condominium units at lower prices. This program operates on a lottery system, so not all borrowers who submit an application are guaranteed to receive assistance. Eligible borrowers must be a resident of Hawaii, a permanent resident alien or U.S. citizen, and must occupy the property as their primary residence for the duration of owning the property.  
  • Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC): Mortgage credit certificates reduce the amount of federal income tax you pay, allowing you to keep more cash in your pocket. MCC’s allow for 20% of the mortgage interest paid to be applied as a federal tax credit to reduce your tax liability. MCC’s must be obtained through a participating lender, and borrowers must meet certain criteria to be eligible, such as utilizing the home as your primary residence and meeting household income and home purchase price limits.

Pro Tip

It’s never too soon to start looking into first-time homebuyer programs. Some programs have limited funding and availability, and submitting an application sooner rather than later could improve your chances of being approved.