However, higher home prices should not deter you from becoming a homeowner, as there are many different types of loan programs that can help with expenses like closing costs and down payments.
If you’re looking to get a mortgage for a home purchase in the Garden State, here are some tips and advice on the types of loans and homeownership assistance programs that you could benefit from.
What Are Today’s Mortgage Rates in New Jersey?
For Monday, September 26, 2022, here are the current mortgage rates in New Jersey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 6.470%. The average 30-year fixed mortgage refinance rate is 6.500%. Today, the average 15-year fixed mortgage rate is 5.710%.
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 New Jersey
How Much of a Mortgage Do You Need to Buy a Home in New Jersey?
The minimum required down payment will depend on the type of loan you apply for. Conventional loans require as little as 3%, while jumbo loans from certain lenders can require 20% or more. Different loan programs also have unique eligibility criteria, so depending on your circumstances, you might have to choose a program with a higher down payment requirement.
Average home prices will vary depending on the neighborhood where you’re looking to purchase. To give you an idea of how much of a down payment you might need to have, we’ve compiled a list of some areas in and around New Jersey, along with the corresponding median sales prices.
|Metro Area||Median Home Price||3.5%||10%||20%|
|New York – Jersey City – White Plains, NY||$553,400||$19,369||$55,340||$110,680|
|Philadelphia – Camden – Wilmington||$297,900||$10,426.50||$29,790||$59,580|
Types of Home Loans Available in New Jersey
You’ll find plenty of lenders who offer home loans in the Garden State. This will include online-only lenders as well as traditional banks and mortgage brokers for different types of loans, including conventional, FHA, and VA loans.
The best type of loan for you may depend on what you can qualify for. Mai Huynh, most recently an underwriting manager at Better Mortgage, says that “for someone who may not qualify for a conventional loan due to less than perfect credit history, an FHA [loan] may be a viable option.” Choosing the right type of loan can also depend on your personal goals, whether those are paying off the loan as quickly as possible, minimizing cash spent for a down payment, or locking in a low monthly payment, she says.
If you meet the requirements, a conventional loan can offer some of the most competitive rates. It’s possible to qualify with a minimum 3% down payment, a credit score of 620, and a debt-to-income ratio below 45%. However, these are not necessarily hard requirements, as many lenders use an automated system to evaluate your application in its entirety. Depending on the overall characteristics of your loan, you could be restricted to a lower debt ratio.
While the minimum down payment is only 3%, you will have to pay for monthly private mortgage insurance if you put less than 20% down. This PMI can be removed once you have 20% equity in the home.
If you don’t qualify for a conventional loan, you could still get into the house of your dreams with an FHA mortgage. FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration, and while you’ll have to bring a slightly higher 3.5% down payment, these loans offer more flexibility when it comes to your credit score. Borrowers can qualify with a credit score down to 580, but with a 10% down payment, that minimum credit score drops to 500.
FHA loans can be a bit more expensive than conventional loans, as you’ll have to pay upfront mortgage insurance in addition to ongoing monthly mortgage insurance premiums.
One of the major benefits of a VA loan is the fact that no down payment is required. VA loans also do not charge mortgage insurance. However, in order to be eligible for this type of loan, you’ll typically need to have some sort of qualifying military service.
VA loans are insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs, but mortgage lenders can each have their own requirements in terms of minimum credit scores and debt-to-income ratios. In the event you do not qualify for a VA loan at one lender, it may be worth applying with another lender.
First-Time Homebuyer Programs in New Jersey
The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Financing Agency (NJHMFA) has several first-time homebuyer programs that provide financial assistance in the form of reduced down payment requirements and closing cost assistance. You’ll have to find a participating lender and meet requirements unique to each program, but if you’re tight on cash, this could be just what you need to make the leap into homeownership:
- NJHMFA First-time Homebuyer Mortgage: First-time homeowners looking to purchase a primary residence can qualify for a 30-year FHA, VA, or USDA loan through a participating lender.
- NJHMFA Down Payment Assistance: If you’re a first-time homeowner, you can qualify for up to $10,000 to cover your down payment or closing costs. The funds are issued in the form of an interest-free five-year loan with no monthly payment requirements. Income and purchase price limits do apply and must be combined with an NJHMFA first mortgage loan.
- NJHMFA Police and Firemen’s Retirement System Mortgage: Available to active members of the New Jersey Police and Firemen’s Retirement System, eligible borrowers looking to purchase a home with a purchase price less than $548,250 can qualify for a 30-year fixed-rate loan. Borrowers do not have to be first-time homeowners to be approved for this program.
Even if you currently own a home, you could still be eligible for some of New Jersey’s first-time homebuyer assistance programs.