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Revisiting History as Mortgage Rates Drop to Record Lows

With the 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaging 2.98%, homebuyer demand is surging. Mortgage rates fell below 3 percent for the first time in 50 years. The drop has led to increased homebuyer demand with the average of a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 2.98%.

To put things into perspective, we are going to take a journey through time. We will stop at the beginning of each decade along the way, culminating in 1971 when Freddie Mac first started recording mortgage rates.


A lot can happen in 10 years’ time (like a global pandemic and cultural movement that eradicates modern society) and it seems like 2010 brought rapid changes to every aspect of culture and life (or so we thought).

Hey, 2020

We wouldn’t understand for another year when Game of Thrones aired in 2011, that winter was indeed coming. A series of winter storms, labeled "Snowmageddon" by President Obama, blanketed the east coast of the United States with up to 40 inches of snow in less than 1 week.

We were too busy on our cell phones that nearly 80% of all Americans owned, reading the latest WikiLeaks scandal, the heroic Chilean miner miracle, or getting “poked” by strangers on Facebook. Fun.

  • The average cost of new house in 2010: $232,880

  • The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage: 4.69%

Side note: If you bought your home in 2010 and your rate is still 4.69%, you should call us about refinancing.


It doesn't seem so long ago that the world was freaking out about the Y2K bug that would bring about the end of times. The Matrix was released a year prior, so it could all be a simulation anyway. (Spoiler Alert: Nothing happened.) Aside from the possible glitch that threatened doomsday, the dawn of the new millennium felt like entering the future.

We marveled at how far technology had advanced in the 20th century. About 50% of American homes had the Internet they needed to Ask Jeeves for the location of the nearest RadioShack. Gone were the days of “outside time” as we created bad AOL screennames and could even play snake on our mobile phones that were durable enough to be used as a weapon.

  • The average cost of new house in 2000: $134,150

  • The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage: 8.05%


Life in 1990 was cell phone, social media, and internet free (mostly). It was just coming off the 1980s and full of fun and nostalgia. It wasn’t just MTV’s all-weekend video marathons, grunge wear, afternoon cartoons, or the theme song from Friends. The 1990s possessed a sense of happiness that even the death of a beloved Tamagotchi couldn’t reach.

The American people looked to the sky as the Hubble Telescope and Ulysses Probe were launched and at their televisions as The Simpson’s aired for the first time (True fans will know that they technically aired in December of 1989, but that’s basically 1990). What a time to be alive.

  • The average cost of a new house in 1990: $123,000

  • The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage: 10.13%


The 80s saw the collapse of Communism and the ending of the Cold War. Microsoft, IBM, Intel and Apple begin to have an impact on all our lives as small computers becomes cheaper and more widespread in homes and businesses, igniting the paranoia that “Big Brother” is truly keeping an eye on America.

Children spent their days in local arcades, fighting for turns to play the release of the new game Pac-Man, while even their parents had trouble solving the Rubik’s Cube. Children were allowed to stay home alone, only left with unreadable instructions written on newly invented post-notes that leftovers were in the fridge. Parents went into town for date night to drown their sorrows with some wine coolers to mourn a beloved Beatles icon.

Also, Aqua Net everywhere.

  • The average cost of a new house in 1980: $68,700

  • The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage: 13.74%


The 70s saw massive inflation world wide, much of it caused by the oil crisis in the Middle East. Digital technology is seen for the first time in consumer products, including the first calculator. The Vietnam War ends, and the Cold War gets colder. Yikes.

Did I mention that in 1971, the Walt Disney World Resort opens in Florida? This was the year that the “Happiest Place on Earth” opened! Families could take a trip in in their station wagon, listening to Dad’s 8-track player of the Osmonds, on the way to the drive- to see Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Dad really wanted to see Dirty Harry).

Also, the floppy disk was invented. As a millennial, I can attest to still using this in the 5th grade for some reason.

  • The average cost of a new house in 1970: $23,450

  • The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage: 7.54%

I hope you enjoyed this lighthearted journey through time, made with sweeping generalizations and a baseline knowledge of what life was actually like in some of those decades.

As you can see, rates really are at their lowest in history. There is an amazing opportunity to save money each month by refinancing or purchasing your first home at these super-low rates right now! Reach out to on of our mortgage experts at Princeton Mortgage to get started by visiting or by calling 800.635.0977 today!

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