A new report by National Association of Home Builders says that around 63.6 percent of existing and new houses sold early this year are now considered affordable to households with a median income. The current median income is $75,500. This news comes after a continued period of low interest rates that have contributed to affordability, helping to offset an increase in home prices.

If you've been considering buying, but have been watching market conditions to determine a good time to buy, you may want to begin a conversation with a local loan officer to talk about your options. FHA loans and VA loans are two loan programs that often appeal to first-time buyers.

FHA loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration to protect lenders against buyers who default on their loan, which enables lenders to offer them without too much of a risk and with lesser approval requirements. This allows lenders to qualify buyers with various credit backgrounds, smaller minimum down payments and flexible income requirements.

VA loans are available to military personnel who have served at least 181 days during peacetime, 90 days during war or a spouse of a serviceman killed or missing in action. They are backed by the Veterans Administration in case of default and require no down payment. This loan program was created to help Veterans and their families secure housing and, because the mortgage is guaranteed, lenders offer a lower interest rate when compared to a conventional loan. Veterans who are at risk of defaulting on their loan may have access to services to help.

There are many steps throughout the home-buying process, but a smart first step is to find a trusted lender that you can use as a resource. There are many loan programs available to buyers with unique financial situations and our team is here as your partner in homeownership to answer any questions you may have. Find a local loan officer today.