If you’re a deal hunter, you likely shopped on Amazon’s second annual Prime Day, and you’re probably gearing up for the back-to-school sales, particularly if you live in a state that offers a back-to-school sales tax holiday (as 17 states do this year, starting as early as July 29th).
But if you’re looking for the summer’s most significant bargains, they might not be as blatantly advertised, even though they could be staring you in the face.
Here are three of the biggest deals currently available, and they’re historic.
In the market to buy a home? Vacation pad? Refinance an existing loan? Convert from a 30-year fixed mortgage to a 15-year loan? Take advantage of the situation now. “Mortgage rates have fallen to three-year lows and come within a whisker of the all-time historic lows” we saw in November 2012, says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.
Consider this: At the current average rate of 3.42% (down from over 4% a year ago), you’d pay about $445 a month in principal and interest for every $100,000 you borrow on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage.
With rates averaging 2.75% for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, down from 3.2% a year ago, you wouldn’t pay much more: about $680 a month in principal and interest for every $100,000 you borrow.
It’s safe to assume that this extension of easy money—due to slow U.S. economic growth, negative interest rates overseas, the “Brexit,” and other factors—isn’t going to last forever.
According to Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst with Gasbuddy.com, nearly 40% of the nation’s 135,000 gas stations are now selling gasoline for under $2 a gallon; last year at this time, 0% of stations were at such low prices.
States with the highest percentage of gas prices at $1.99 or less include South Carolina, Missouri, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Virginia, and Oklahoma.
“There’s not been a more affordable summer to hit the road in the last decade,” says DeHaan. “This situation may not repeat itself next summer, so my advice to motorists is to enjoy it as much as you can while it lasts.”
You’ve seen the headlines: due to a drop in oil prices and increased airline competition, summer airfares are the lowest they’ve been since 2009. But yet you still haven’t booked anything – to anywhere. There’s still time.
And here’s an additional incentive: “The final week before Labor Day is the cheapest time to fly to most destinations,” says Patrick Surry, chief data scientist at Hopper, the airfare prediction app. During this time, domestic tickets to top destinations, which include Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, San Francisco, and Honolulu, can be about $40 less expensive, per person, than in July. That’s a savings of $160 for a family of four!
Airfares on international travel drop by over 17% in late summer.
But timing is key. “Book now – at least three weeks in advance — for late summer travel because if you procrastinate, you’ll miss out since prices start rising as last minute demand kicks in,” says Surry.
Vera Gibbons is a financial journalist and senior consumer analyst with www.gasbuddy.com. A former analyst with MSNBC who appeared regularly on the “Today Show,” Gibbons was previously a Financial Contributor with CBS News. Prior to CBS, she worked as a Correspondent for CNBC’s “High Net Worth”. Gibbons has written for Inc., SmartMoney , Kiplinger’s, Real Simple, The New York Times, Fortune.com and CNBC.com. Today, she writes for CNN Money, FoxBusiness.com, and Bankrate.com.