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Today, a number of closely followed mortgage rates declined. Both 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed mortgage rates declined. We also saw a cut in the average rate of 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.
Interest rates for mortgages are dynamic. But the good news is, they’re currently historically low. If you’re looking for a mortgage, now can be an excellent time to secure a fixed rate. But don’t forget to take the time to compare rates from various lenders first.
30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgages
For a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, the average rate you’ll pay is 2.96%, which is a decrease of 6 basis points from the previous week.
You can use NextAdvisor’s mortgage loan calculator to get an idea of what your monthly payments will be and understand how adding extra payments will impact your loan. The mortgage calculator can also show you all of the interest you’ll owe over the life of the loan
15-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgages
The median rate for a 15-year, fixed mortgage is 2.47%, which is a decrease of 3 basis points from the same time last week.
A 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage’s monthly payment is, without a doubt, a much bigger monthly payment than what you’d get with a 30-year mortgage offering the same interest rate. However, 15-year loans have some considerable benefits: You’ll pay thousands less in interest and pay off your loan much sooner.
5/1 Adjustable-Rate Mortgages
A 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage has an average rate of 3.03%, a decrease of 1 basis point compared to last week.
An adjustable-rate mortgage is ideal for households that will sell or refinance before the rate changes. If that’s not the case, their interest rates could end up being noticeably higher after a rate adjusts.
For the first five years, a 5/1 ARM will typically have a lower interest rate compared to a 30-year fixed mortgage. Keep in mind, depending on how much your loan’s rate adjusts your payment has the potential to increase by a large amount.
Where Rates Are Moving
To see where mortgage rates are going we rely on information collected by Bankrate, which is owned by the same parent company as NextAdvisor. This table has current average rates based on information provide to Bankrate by lenders nationwide:
|Loan type||Interest rate||A week ago||Change|
|30-year fixed rate||2.96%||3.02%||-0.06|
|15-year fixed rate||2.47%||2.50%||-0.03|
|30-year jumbo mortgage rate||2.94%||3.07%||-0.13|
|30-year mortgage refinance rate||3.03%||3.16%||-0.13|
Updated on November 19, 2020.
Is a Rate Lock Important?
When you lock a rate it freezes the interest rate for a set amount of time. It’s not unheard of for lenders to offer rate locks for a fee, which could be included in the price of the loan. In general, the longer the interest rate lock period, the more pricey it will be. You may even run into a lender that will lock a rate for a shorter period of time because it wants to avoid the risk of a big jump in rates.
If mortgage rates rise, a rate lock will guarantee your original rate. You may even come across what is known as a floating-rate lock. This enables you to take advantage of lower rates if they drop before closing. If interest rates are declining, a floating-rate lock could be a great option to consider. Mortgage rates can be extremely unpredictable, so no one knows how they will change from day-to-day. That’s why it’s usually the right move to lock in a low rate, rather than betting on mortgage rates taking a tumble.
One thing to consider is that during the pandemic, mortgage professionals have been extremely busy and it’s taking longer to close on a home. In some cases, it can take up to 60 days to close a mortgage loan — and you should also expect a refinance to take longer than normal.
What Influences Mortgage Rates?
There isn’t a single factor that causes mortgage rates to move, but rather there are many. Chief among them are things like inflation and even the unemployment rate. When you see inflation increasing that usually means mortgage rates are about to climb higher. On the other hand, lower inflation typically accompanies lower mortgage rates. With higher inflation, the dollar becomes less valuable. This scenario pushes buyers away from mortgage-backed securities, which leads to price decreases and the need for increasing yields. And higher yields require borrowers to pay higher interest rates.
The demand for housing can also impact mortgage rates. If more people are buying homes, there is a greater need for mortgages. This type of demand can drive interest rates up. And if there is less demand for mortgages, that can cause a decline in mortgage rates.
Where Are Mortgage Rates Going?
In recent months, we’ve seen mortgage interest rates linger near all-time lows. But it’s difficult to determine where they will go from here. Where rates go is largely dependent on what happens with the economy. In addition, how well the coronavirus pandemic is contained will also play a role. A vaccine could help boost the economy and lead to an increase in mortgage rates. However, if the economic recovery continues to be slow and the pandemic drags on, it’s likely we’ll see low rates for the foreseeable future.
Current Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates were a bit unstable thanks to the pandemic and shutdown, but overall they have been remarkably low. In fact, mortgage rates set a record low, dipping under 3% for the first time. The problem for some people is you need excellent credit to qualify for these exceptionally-low rates. Not only that, but mortgage lenders are becoming more risk averse and requiring more sizable down payments while also closely scrutinizing borrowers’ employment.
Mortgage Rates’ Impact on Borrowers
The rock-bottom mortgage rates we’ve seen have distinct advantages and disadvantages for homebuyers. For starters, buyers have the ability to borrow larger amounts now than when rates were higher. For example, a 30-year, $350,000 loan with a 4% interest rate would have a monthly mortgage and interest payment of $1,670. A payment on the exact same loan would drop to $1,475 if the mortgage rate was reduced to 3%.
One drawback to slumping mortgage rates is that buyers may find increased competition for that dream home, which can drive home prices up.
Let’s say you were going to purchase a home for $350,000 with a 4% mortgage rate. A 20% down payment would cost you $70,000, and with a 30-year loan term the monthly payment would be $1,336.
Suppose the price of the same property jumps to $380,000, while the mortgage rate drops to 3%. If you can still manage a down payment of 20% the monthly payment on a 30-year loan would be $1,451, an increase of only $115 a month. But the down payment goes up by another $6,000, and some of your closing costs are also likely to rise.
Is Now a Good Time to Buy a Home?
There’s no “right time” to buy a house — the decision is a highly personal one. Keep in mind, when you purchase a home the monthly payment won’t be your only cost. You’ll also need enough money saved up for upfront closing costs and a down payment. And you’ll get a better deal if you have a higher credit score and lower debt-to-income ratio.
However, the pandemic has led to an even greater shortage of homes. That’s caused a bidding war and rising prices. Those trends mean it can be a frustrating market for buyers.
How We Got These Rates
The rates we have included are averages provided by Bankrate.com Site Averages and are calculated after the close of the previous business day. The lenders that the “Bankrate.com Site Average” tables include are not the same every day.
National lenders provide this mortgage rate information to Bankrate.com. It is possible the mortgage rates we reference has changed since this was published.