Have you been waiting to lock your rate? Now is the time. And although the initial increase in the first quarter did not come as a surprise, these rate are still considered positive for the consumer. In December of 1981 rates were at 15.8% and 6.18% in December 2008. With our rate being under 5% and likely to remain, home buyers using financing are still at an advantage.

According to Bankrate's national survey of large lenders, the average mortgage rate for the New York Metro area has declined to 4.26 percent for a 30-year fixed and 3.43 for a 15-year fixed. Although down 6 and 3 points from last week, the local rate is still slightly higher than the national average rate of 4.24 percent for a 30-year fix. Additionally, the average rate for 30-year jumbo mortgages (used for loans above $636,150 in the New York area) fell 1 basis point this week to 4.02 percent.*

So what does this mean for home buyers and sellers? If you are looking to buy and use financing, now is the time as you will save the most amount on interest possible. Because of the increase in buying activity due to these rates, it is also a great time to list your home.

* A basis point is one-hundredth of 1 percentage point.