BISMARKC, N.D. (KXNET) — The housing market has been difficult for those looking to buy a house, especially people buying homes for the first time.

“For first time home buyers, it’s been fairly aggressive,” said Brandon Dettlaff, Director of Homeownership Division at the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency.

Now interest rates are through the roof.

“We have seen one of the largest interest hikes in history,” said Bill Dean, a local realtor.

It’s normal to see an increase in interest rates; however, the rates usually only increase a point or two per year. This year, rates jumped four points.

“So, what’s happening is we came from all-time low interest rates, which allowed people who normally wouldn’t buy houses buy houses,” said Dean.

Now, interest rates are now going back to normal. Unfortunately, payments on houses have gone up 52%.

A $200,000 house last probably cost about $1300 a month. It’s now in the $1800 range,” said Dean.

The government is now working to cool down the housing market.

“The government is trying to slow down the economy,” said Dean. “Because if it’s too hot, then it becomes a fighting frenzy on who can afford what, who can pay the most to get the item, and it actually hurts the economy.”

However, this could be a good thing for first-time homebuyers.

“For a while, a lot of those first-time loans, couldn’t have peeling paint, maybe it was a VA FHA with a lot of other rules to make sure the house was in good shape,” said Dean. “Well, when they were competing with cash offers, they had no chance.”

However, now that the economy is slowing down, it’s giving first-time home buyers a chance.

“Sellers have to be more negotiable, and it’s kind of a good thing because I’m working with someone now who a year ago, we would have had some problems even competing,” said Dean.

Agencies say a good tip for those looking to buy their first home is to educate themselves. The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency offers programs for first-time homebuyers.

“We offer down payment closing cost assistance, which is huge. It’s less out of pocket. We are seeing probably 80% of our borrowers using those programs,” said Dettlaff.

The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency also offers classes that teach buyers about the market and the buying process in general.

The big takeaway for first-time homebuyers is the economy is slowing down. This will give first-time buyers a chance to take advance of loans specifically tailored to them without being trampled by other buyers.