South Dakota Mortgage Rates

Living in South Dakota

Living in South Dakota means having plenty of room to stretch out. One of the least populated states, it’s home to vast expanses of granite, grassland and canyons in landmarks like Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, and Black Hills National Forest. City lovers have opportunities here, too, especially in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. Despite a sluggish economy in the rest of the state, South Dakota’s two largest cities are growing steadily, with upticks in job numbers and record levels of building investment. Sioux Falls, for example, added 4,000 new residents last year, for a total of 187,200.

Severe weather disrupted home sales in much of the country in early 2019, but prices in Sioux Falls stayed the course. In May, the median price for a home in the city declined by only 0.5% to $210,000. Meanwhile, the supply of homes fell 12.9%, leaving just enough inventory for 3.7 months; a six-month supply of homes usually points to a more balanced market. Another plus for sellers: Homes in Sioux Falls sat on the market for 84 days, versus 88 days from the year before.

The rules and costs of buying a home in South Dakota

If you’re thinking of buying a home in South Dakota, you’ll need to consider the following rules and regulations:

Home seller and buyer laws

  • Real estate property disclosure forms: South Dakota requires sellers to provide buyers a seller’s property condition disclosure statement. It asks sellers to address more than 100 points about the condition of their home, as well as potential safety hazards and legal issues, such as whether the home has any outstanding liens. Using this statement, you’ll also be able to learn more about a home’s internal workings, such as its plumbing, electrical and sewage systems.
  • South Dakota is both a judicial and non-judicial foreclosure state: Lenders often choose to foreclose on a property if a homeowner fails to pay their mortgage. In certain states, lenders can foreclose on a property without going through the court system, while other states mandate that foreclosures receive judicial attention. Some states, like South Dakota, allow for both judicial and non-judicial foreclosures, both of which usually follow a 90-day timeline.
  • Equitable distribution: South Dakota is an equitable distribution state. This means that when a couple divorces, the state requires that assets (including property) and debts be divided fairly. This is different from the 50/50 split required in community property states. In South Dakota, if a divorcing couple can’t decide on how property will be divided, a court will step in after looking at factors such as individual incomes and future earning power.
  • Escrow state: Like some states, South Dakota does not require buyers to use a lawyer to close on the purchase of a home. These states are referred to as escrow states, which means homebuyers can work with escrow officers or title company representatives to close instead.

Taxes

Like many states, South Dakota imposes a real estate transfer tax at the time of closing on a home. This fee is determined by the total value of the home; buyers should know that lenders are responsible for telling you the amount once you’ve identified a property. South Dakota has a 0.1% transfer fee rate, which means buyers pay $0.50 for every $500 in home value, or $200 for a home worth $200,000.

According to Tax-Rates.org, the average property tax rate in South Dakota is now 1.28% of a property’s value, which means residents pay a median of $1,620 per year. Keep in mind that property tax rates usually vary by county. For example, in Minnehaha County, where Sioux Falls is located, the average tax rate is 1.42%, or $2,062 per year. By Tax-Rates.org’s numbers, that amount is one of the highest in the U.S.

South Dakota does offer a number of programs that can help seniors or those who are disabled shave their property tax bills. Depending on how you qualify, the help comes in the form of tax refunds, reductions, exemptions or an assessment freeze on the value of your home to prevent it from going up.

Conforming loan limits

South Dakota now has a maximum conforming loan limit of $484,350 for a one-unit, single-family home, a rate that is the same for most of the U.S.

Conforming loans are home mortgages that abide by guidelines and limits set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two government-sponsored enterprises set conforming loan limits, which vary by state and county, each year. Conforming loans are important: By sticking to the borrowing limits of this type of mortgage, consumers who have good credit generally get the best interest rates.

Programs for homebuyers in South Dakota

The South Dakota Housing Development Authority can help qualified buyers find a more affordable mortgage and pay down payment and closing costs. Read on for more about individual programs:

First-Time Homebuyer

This program provides low, fixed-rate mortgages, along with cash assistance for down payment costs.

Who qualifies:

  • Borrowers must purchase a home that costs less than $275,000
  • Borrowers must be a first-time buyer or have not owned a home during the previous three years
  • Buyers must meet income limits, which vary by county and family size and usually change annually

Learn more

Fixed Rate Plus

This loan program helps borrowers with down payment and closing costs by providing a second mortgage for up to 3% of the purchase price. The second mortgage charges no interest or associated fees and is paid off either when the first mortgage is paid off or when the borrower sells the home. To see if you qualify, contact a participating lender.

Learn more

Mortgage credit certificate

This mortgage credit certificate program provides qualified, first-time buyers with a federal tax credit for a portion of the mortgage interest they pay each year.

Who qualifies:

  • Borrowers must be first-time homebuyers or have not owned a home in the previous three years
  • Home sale price may not exceed $275,000 or $336,000 if in a federally designated target area
  • Income limits apply by family size and county

Learn more

Rate shopping tips

Shopping around for a mortgage may help you find the financial terms that work best for you and save you thousands of dollars in interest costs over the course of your loan. Here are few tips to get started:

Contact at least three lenders on the same day

Mortgage rates change daily, and vary by lender, so it’s important to contact lenders on the same day and check in with at least three lenders. Reaching out to multiple lenders on the same day will also help protect your credit score; if you make several inquiries within a short period of time, credit bureaus typically recognize you’re shopping for a home loan and won’t lower your score.

Give each lender the same information

Provide each lender with the same information, so you can compare the loan terms you receive in the fairest way possible. This will include telling your lender the potential cost of your new home, your income, the type of loan you’d like and for how long (e.g., a 30-year, fixed-rate loan), your Social Security number (for pulling up a credit report) and the down payment you can afford. Eventually, you’ll also need to provide information such as proof of income, tax returns and statements for any bank, credit and retirement accounts.

Add up all the lender fees to confirm cost

Buying a home is always more than just paying for a mortgage; typically, lenders change a variety of fees, too. These fees include those for processing your loan, recording your mortgage as a public record, closing fees and the cost of hiring an attorney to represent the lender during the buying process. Take all these costs into account when shopping for a mortgage, as fees vary by lender. Also ask lenders to provide you with an annual percentage rate (APR), which will include both an interest rate for your mortgage and any associated lender fees.

Know when to lock in the rate

Ask lenders about their rate-lock policies. These will let you lock in a desirable mortgage rate so you won’t have to pay more if interest rates move up before you close on your purchase. Depending on the lender, borrowers usually have between 30 and 60 days to close before the rate lock expires. By the same token, ask your lender for a possible “float down” if interest rates drop.

The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.