By S.E. Slack
Ready to move on up to a newer or larger home? Do it soon. Mortgage rates are mounting, which means some homeowners won’t be able to afford to make a change in the coming year or two.

Mortgage rates have been under 4 percent interest over the past two years, according to real estate firm Zillow. Now, they are hovering just over the four percent mark and starting to climb uphill to five percent. The company recently measured home affordability by looking at how much of a person’s monthly income is spent on a mortgage payment

A year ago, the average homeowner spent 13 percent of his income on mortgage payments, says Svenja Gudell, director of economic research at Zillow. That’s still far below the historic average of 20 percent. Forecasts expect the U.S. to remain fairly affordable in most areas of the country as long as interest rates remain below 7 percent during the coming year.

“Mortgage rates are currently forecasted to remain below 5 percent for the entirety of 2014,” says Gudell. “On a national level, homes will remain more affordable.”

Some great places to buy a home are in the South, where many homeowners in cities like Greenville are paying out between 12 and 14 percent of their income for a mortgage. As mortgage rates rise in the metro area, affordability is expected to drop approximately one percent for each percent of interest rate increase.

Farther north, in locations like Providence, the capital of Rhode Island, current affordability is hovering at 19 percent – still below the national historic average. When mortgage rates jump into the five percent range, however, affordability will become an issue for many Northern home buyers. At five percent interest, affordability will mean 21 percent of a household’s income is slotted for the mortgage. At six percent interest, affordability leaps to 23 percent; at 7 percent interest that number hits 26 percent.