Wyoming Mortgage Rates

Living in Wyoming

If you prefer wide swaths of land over crowded spaces, Wyoming, the nation’s least populated state, may be for you. There’s plenty to appreciate about the great outdoors in the Cowboy State, whether it’s hiking in the Laramie Mountains or Tetons, touring Yellowstone National Park or following in the wagon wheel tracks of the old Oregon Trail.

Wyoming may also be a good place to invest in a home. According to estimates from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), personal income in Wyoming last year grew 9%, the highest increase in the country. Job growth has been steady lately, too. The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services projects that employment in Wyoming will grow by 2% or 5,461 jobs from the second quarter of 2018 to the second quarter of 2020.

Despite these economic gains, Wyoming has seen only a modest rise in home prices compared to the rest of the U.S. in the last few years, and price appreciation has slowed down. During the fourth quarter of 2018, Wyoming home prices rose just 3.9% compared to the year before, less than the quarter before and far less than the average growth nationally, which was 5.7%, according to the Wyoming Department of Administration & Information. In a January survey, the NAR found realtors expected home prices in Wyoming to increase 2.4% over the next 12 months — slightly higher than the national average of 2%.

That is good news for buyers considering Wyoming. However, like many states, Wyoming now has a tight supply of homes, especially affordable homes. For example, at the end of 2018, the Wyoming Business Council estimated that Sheridan County in northern Wyoming needed more than 1,700 units to satisfy demand for affordable housing, while Teton County needed more than 1,400 units. As a result, buyers may need to be flexible or patient.

The rules and costs of buying a home in Wyoming

Like other states, Wyoming has legal guidelines and tax laws that buyers need to consider when shopping for a home.

Home seller and buyer laws

If you’re selling vacant land in Wyoming, you must provide a statement disclosing environmental and safety concerns, such as the availability of water and sewer infrastructure, public utility information and fire protection services. Sellers are not legally required to disclose information about the condition of a home, although they may be charged with fraud if they do not disclose a known defect or misrepresent the quality or characteristics of a home. Wyoming is what’s known as a “caveat emptor” state, which means “buyer beware.” Under that doctrine, the burden typically falls on the buyer to make sure the purchase is a wise one, so buyers need to ensure they get a thorough inspection.

Wyoming allows both judicial and nonjudicial foreclosures. Judicial foreclosures require that proceedings be overseen by a court, while nonjudicial foreclosures allow lenders to foreclose outside of a courtroom. The nonjudicial foreclosure process typically begins with the lender trying to work out a payment schedule with borrowers, and if that’s unsuccessful, filing a public notice of default before selling the home at a public auction. In Wyoming, a lender can also seek a deficiency judgment. This means it can sue the foreclosed homeowner if proceeds from the home’s sale fall short of the amount owed.

Wyoming is an equitable distribution state, so in the event of a divorce, all assets, including property, and debts are divided fairly. That doesn’t automatically mean a 50/50 split, as would be the case in a community property state. Instead, it means factors such as each divorcing party’s earnings — and potential for future earnings — determine how much they get. In an equitable distribution state, any assets acquired by spouses individually before the marriage stay with them after the divorce.

In Wyoming, buyers can hire a lawyer to represent them during a real estate closing, but they can also use an escrow agent or representative from a title company.

Taxes

Real estate transfer taxes are state or local dues imposed when a piece of property changes hands from buyer to seller. Wyoming does not levy this tax, which may be appealing to buyers looking for a more tax-friendly state.

You may also be able to benefit from a property tax exemption, deferral or refund if you live in Wyoming.

  • The Property Tax Deferral Program — currently operating in Teton County only — lets homeowners defer payment on up to 50% of their property taxes. To qualify, homeowners must have limited incomes or either be over 62 or disabled. They also need to have owned their home for at least 10 years. When property taxes are deferred, interest typically accrues and is collected when the home is sold.
  • The Veteran’s Property Tax Exemption Program allows some veterans and surviving spouses to exempt $3,000 of home value from the property tax they owe.
  • The Property Tax Refund Program lets homeowners who meet certain income requirements receive refunds on up to 50% of the median property tax bill in their area or the actual amount they pay, whichever is less.

To learn more about these potential tax benefits in Wyoming, see this Wyoming state government website.

In Wyoming, the median property tax rate is now 0.58%, which is among the lowest in the country, according to Tax-Rates.org. For homeowners, that works out to an annual median property tax of $1,058 for a house worth $184,000.

As in many states, property tax bills in Wyoming vary widely, depending on the county. According to Tax-Rates.org, the median property tax in Teton County is now $3,496 per year, based on a high median home value of $723,700. Teton — home to two national parks and several ski resorts — is a popular vacation destination. By contrast, the annual tax bill is just $579 per year in Wyoming’s Weston County, which sits along the northeast border with South Dakota.

Conforming loan limits

In 2019, the maximum conforming loan limit for most single-family houses in Wyoming is $484,350, the same amount for most of the U.S. However, high-priced Teton County now has a maximum loan limit of $726,525.

Conforming loan limits let you know the maximum amount you can borrow for a mortgage that adheres to the guidelines set by two government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are charged with ensuring the mortgage market is both more affordable and less risky for borrowers.

Programs for homebuyers in Wyoming

If you’d like to buy a home in Wyoming, consider looking into one of the state’s assistance programs. The Wyoming Community Development Authority (WCDA) is the state entity tasked with helping Wyoming residents become homeowners; it can help buyers get a more affordable mortgage and help with down payment and closing costs.

First-time homebuyers may also be able to take advantage of WCDA’s mortgage credit certificate program and receive a federal tax credit for at least some of the mortgage interest they buy. Meanwhile, two WCDA programs (Advantage and HFA Preferred) offer mortgages with no purchase price limits, although buyers will need a credit score of 620 or more.

For more information, visit this WCDA website and read on to learn about three programs that may be of particular value to first-time buyers.

First-Time Homebuyer

The First-Time Homebuyer program offers a 30-year mortgage that also comes with a low, fixed interest rate.

Who qualifies:

  • First-time homebuyers of a single-family primary residence that sits on 10 acres or less
  • Buyers who meet purchase price and income limits
  • Buyers who complete a homebuyer education course

Spruce Up

Spruce Up provides financing to cover both the purchase and rehabilitation of a property in one loan. Its features include:

  • A single closing, which is less expensive than closing on purchase and rehab financing separately
  • The ability to finance non-structural repairs, plumbing work and changes to heating, AC and electrical units

Who qualifies

  • First-time homebuyers using a property, which sits on 10 acres or less, as a primary residence
  • Buyers of single-family homes
  • Homebuyers who meet purchase price and income limits
  • Buyers who complete a homebuyer education course

Home$tretch DPA Loan

This loan can be used for a down payment, closing costs or certain prepaid expenses, such as real estate taxes. The DPA Loan features:

  • Loans up to $10,000
  • 0% interest rate and 0.08% APR on average loan amount of $5,500
  • No monthly payments
  • Loan becomes due when mortgage is paid off or refinanced or when the property is sold

Who qualifies:

  • First-time homebuyers
  • Homebuyers with minimum credit score of 620
  • Homebuyers who come up with a $1,500 minimum contribution, which may be a gift

Rate shopping tips

Once you’re ready to buy a house, shop around for the best mortgage deal. These tips can help:

Contact at least three lenders on the same day

Interest rates typically change daily, so choose the same day to contact multiple lenders to make the best comparison. Also consider checking in with small local lenders and credit unions, not just large national banks.

Give each lender the same information

To compare loan offers fairly, give each lender the same basic information. To put together an accurate loan estimate, your lender will need to see information such as the sale price of the home, the amount you intend to put down and the type of loan you need, say, a 30-year, fixed-rate loan versus a 15-year, adjustable-rate mortgage. Your lender will eventually ask for considerably more information, such as proof of income (like pay stubs), bank and credit card statements, tax returns and contact information for your employers.

Add up and confirm all lender fees

There’s more to comparing mortgage offers than just looking at the interest rate. Add up and compare all lender fees and closing costs, too, to get an accurate picture of how much each loan might ultimately cost you. Ask lenders to quote an annual percentage rate, or APR, which typically includes an interest rate for your new mortgage and any associated lender fees.

Know when to lock in the rate

Once you find a mortgage that works for you, ask your lender to lock in the interest rate so it won’t increase while your loan is being processed and before you close. Also consider asking about a potential “float down” in case interest rates fall.

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