Oct 19, 2022

Question of the Day: What's the highest interest rate recorded on a 30-year home loan (mortgage)?

Let me help a little...it's between 10 and 20%. 

Hat tip to Jenny Trieu for inspiring this question. 

Answer: 18.45% (October, 1981); current 30-year mortgage average

is 6.92% as of 10/13/22


  • What impact do you think high interest rates on mortgages, like 18.45%, had on the housing market back in 1981?
  • How do interest rates on mortgages rates today compare to 1981? What has been the trend in the past few months, according to the chart?
  • The higher the interest rate on a mortgage loan, the __________, the monthly mortgage payment.

Here are the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers (Rocket Mortgage):

October 1981 saw 30-year FRM mortgage rates hit their historical peak at 18.45%. That same year saw the highest annual average at 16.63%. The culprit? Record inflation caused by the OPEC embargo...By looking at all the historical mortgage rate data available from Freddie Mac, a trend becomes clear. With the exception of a spike in the 1980s, rates were getting lower every decade – until now. The average rate in 1971 was 7.54%. As of 2020, the average rate was 3.11%. Rates that low likely won’t be back for a while.

Now, interest rates sit between 6% and 7% and could potentially rise still further this year.


Get your students out of their seats to experience inflation in a new way. Check out MOVE: Inflation over Time


What does it feel like to be overwhelmed by debt? Arcade game, Cat Insanity, captures the negative emotions from that experience. 

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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