Mortgage rates and auto loans: Is now the time to buy?

PHOENIX - It's the beginning of a new year and that means a new financial outlook.

Last week, we brought you advice about what to do with your savings and when to apply for a new credit card.

Now, it's all about buying. When it comes to big life purchases like houses and cars, is it time to buy? Or should you wait?

We talked to Bankrate.com Senior Analyst Greg McBride to find out.

There a few, big factors that are making it a buyer's market this year for homes, McBride said.

1. The economy is growing slowly.

2. Unemployment is still high.

"The Federal Reserve is spending $85 billion a month to buy long-term bonds in order to keep mortgage rates low," he said.

All of that, he said, is working together to keep mortgage rates low this year – "I think, between the 3 ½ and 4 percent mark on a 30-year fixed loan for much of 2013."

So, "if you have the financial wherewithal to buy a home right now, it's a great time," McBride said.

But, no rush!

If you need another few months to pay down your debt, boost your savings or bring your credit score up, you've got time.

"Mortgage rates are going to remain pretty cooperative and home prices aren't going to run away from you in the meantime," he said.

Another good purchase to make this year is a new car.

"Auto loan rates, which are currently at record lows, are still moving lower," according to McBride.

New or used, just be sure you shop around. You can get those rates on auto loans from credit unions or most large banks nationwide.

What kinds of rates are you seeing? Email me or go to my ABC15 Facebook page and tell me about it.

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