ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Interest rates on home loans are now double what they were this time last year.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in Illinois was just under 6% on Nov. 29. The rate on a 15-year fixed is currently around 6.25%.

At the same time in 2021, Illinoisans were paying around 2.875% for a 30-year fixed, and just over 3% for a 15-year fixed.

The increase is due in part to Federal Reserve rate hikes over the last year in attempts to stem inflation.

Current rates have priced borrowers who needed to equal or better what they were paying in rent out of the current market. Lenders say although it’s still a seller’s market and rates have doubled, it’s still the time to buy.

Rates are a percentage point down from what they were last month, and buyers always have the option of watching the market and refinancing later.

“Sometimes you just happen to stumble upon that perfect home,” said Lindsey Swanson, a loan officer at First Northern Credit Union. “Yeah, the rates aren’t where they were a year ago, but they’re also still not awful. Obviously, some people still have to move, and it’s still a good time to purchase a home.”

As rates have crept up, the housing inventory has dwindled. The Northwest Illinois Alliance of Realtors reported earlier this fall that the local housing inventory fell by more than 20% over the last year. Statewide, there were 11,764 homes sold in October this year. That’s 16,314 less than in October 2021, according to Redfin.

The three-month rolling average home price in Boone, Winnebago or Ogle counties is currently right around $190,000 and is expected to hold through the winter.

Swanson says buying is almost always more advantageous than renting, even at times when rates are up.

“Rent is 100% interest,” she said. “When you rent a home, you can have any chance of having (the property) being sold out from underneath you and, obviously after one-year, or two-year leases, those leases can go up. And you can do things to your own home that you can’t do to a rental.”