SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – Mortgage rates increased just before the beginning of the Spring housing market.

According to MSNBC, mortgage rates are at the highest rate since last November. The average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with conforming loan balances increased to 6.71% from 6.62%. 22News spoke with a local realtor who told 22News, people looking for a home, need to know their “buying power.”

“The buyer should be checking in with their lender on a very regular basis so—whenever I hear on the news, ” hey the rates have gone up—or might go up,” said Steven Laplante, Era M. Connie Laplante Real Estate of South Hadley. “I immediately instruct my clients, that they should go to their lender, and just do a quick check-in on the numbers.”

Laplante adds that lenders are trying to stay competitive with each other as these rates go up…which could be in favor of a buyer. For example, some lenders are reducing their monthly mortgage help buyers with affordability.