Borrowers in Houston now have access to Sawbuck Realty‘s below-market-average mortgage rates, as the online real estate agency recently expanded into the nation’s sixth-largest metropolitan area. The new listings add more than 305,000 homes to the firm’s realty database. Sawbuck, through a joint venture with Bank of America (BAC), gives borrowers the chance to originate a mortgage 0.32% lower than the market average. Sawbuck spokeswoman Cynthia Pang told HousingWire the firm subsidizes part of the mortgage to reduce up-front fees and costs. “If you have a 6% rate compared to a 5.65%, that’s pretty significant over the life of the loan,” she said. Sawbuck opened in 2008 and began its deal with Bank of America shortly thereafter. The agency originates exclusively through Bank of America, so any deal offered through the bank has the ability to be subsidized. This includes loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as reverse-mortgage programs such as the HECM Standard. “If its a program Bank of America offers, then it would apply,” Pang said, citing that she too would have qualified for the subsidiary under the FHA-loan program she and her husband applied for. Sawbuck Realty said the typical borrower in Houston — where the average home sales price is $212,242 — would save $40 a month at the reduced rate. The Sawbuck website includes a searchable database of local listings in 12 major metropolitan statistical areas nationwide. Sawbuck’s services are available in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Orange County, Calif., Phoenix, Providence, R.I., San Francisco, San Diego and Washington, D.C. Write to Christine Ricciardi. Disclosure: The author holds no relevant investments.

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