The chart pictured is NOT a side view of a rollercoaster ride at a new theme park. It’s a look back at annual average interest rates on Freddie Mac’s 30-year fixed-rate mortgages since 1971.

You can see rates took off on a pretty steep climb from just under 8% in 1971 to a peak of 16.6% in 1981. And it was a bumpy ride down from 16.6% to a plateau around 10.32% during the late 1980s. Then it went down to 8.05% in 2000 and finally down to its 2011 average of 4.45%.

This rollercoaster ride and its affect on home sales were the two big stories in the final week of 2011: Home Sales Contracts Continue to Rise in Mortgage News Daily and Mortgage Rates Finish the Year Near Historic Lows in Housing Wire.

In Mortgage News, the National Association of Realtors announced that nationwide pending home sales in November reached the highest levels seen in 19 months.

In the Housing Wire article, Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac said, “Mortgage rates ended the year hovering near historic lows in an already affordable housing market.”

While the near record low mortgage rates do make buying a home easier for some individuals, there are still so many more out there in our region and across the nation that cannot afford to purchase a home of their own and struggle to rent an apartment.

Housing is the single biggest expense for most households. SC Community Loan Fund believes to truly transform economic conditions in low-wealth communities, there must be the availability of safe, decent, energy efficient housing that is affordable to a community’s residents. This enables them to first meet their basic human needs of food and shelter, and then secondly to build assets through homeownership, business ownership, saving and investing.