Worried about losing the marketable aspects of the homebuyer tax credit? Don’t fret! First-time and long-time homeowner programs combined with current mortgage interest rates hovering at historic lows could make all the difference in closing the sale.

A number of analysts are urging potential homebuyers to take advantage of low interest rates now because they’re long overdue for an increase. Many predicted them to soar when the Fed stopped buying mortgage-backed securities in April, but they continue to remain low and when they will rise again is still unknown.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority’s (IHDA), Home Start program just lowered their interest rates as well. The program, engineered to make homeownership within reach for Illinois residents offers mortgage loans to qualifying first-time buyers and veterans.

According to IHDA, Home Start’s 30-year fixed rate mortgage interest rate is now just 4.5 percent, dropping from February’s 5 percent rate. The loan, paired with low market prices and interest rates could mean all the difference in owning a home. IHDA urges potential homebuyers to contact a participating lender and take advantage of these historically low interest rates.

Another option for potential buyers is the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) insured mortgage loans. They require a low minimum down payment of only 3.5 percent and offer loans to those with a less than perfect credit history.

And while some of the most well-known programs are at the federal or statewide level, a number of city and county programs are available throughout Illinois.

With no set prediction of when interest rates will begin to soar, locking in a low rate now could mean saving thousands of dollars in the long run. Find more financing options at www.YourIllinoisHome.com.