March 13, 2024 at 12:51pm | Angie Cody
Hannah Jones

In today’s high mortgage rate environment, buyers are eager to find creative ways to lessen the cost of homeownership. Assumable mortgages could fit the bill for some buyers.

An assumable mortgage effectively passes a homeowner’s current loan to the buyer, allowing the buyer to hold a mortgage with a lower rate than today’s rate. The buyer would still need to pay the difference between the remaining loan amount and the home’s sale price, perhaps even by taking out another mortgage, but holding even part of the loan at a lower rate can help make a housing payment more manageable.
Most government mortgage loans (i.e., FHA, VA, and USDA loans) are assumable with conditions. Not all sellers may be open to this option, but some are not only open to the option, they also are advertising it as a differentiator to attract buyers.

Based on 2024 active listings to date, about 0.4% of U.S. for-sale listings advertised an assumable loan. Some areas, especially those with a large military presence, saw a higher share of homes advertising this appealing loan strategy.
Roughly 8% of home loans across the U.S. were VA loans over the past five years (since 2019), while 15% were FHA loans. This means that roughly 1 in 4 mortgage loans originated in the past five years were assumable government loans.

The large metros with the highest share of listings that advertise an assumable loan are Urban Honolulu, HI (3.3%), New Orleans-Metairie, LA (2.8%), Ogden-Clearfield, UT (1.6%), Tucson, AZ (1.4%), Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC (1.3%), San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX (1.2%), and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC (1.2%). Honolulu, Augusta, San Antonio, and Virginia Beach all stand out as areas with a large share of VA loans issued, likely due to large military populations.


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