If you haven’t taken advantage of today’s historically low mortgage rates, now’s the time.
Average mortgage rates are slowly increasing but are still considered historically low. In fact, today’s mortgage rates are about 1% lower than pre-pandemic levels. But experts predict rates to rise by 2022. So, if you are in the market to refinance or purchase a home, now is a good time to take action. Here is everything you need to know about scoring the best rate and how much it can save you.
Mortgage Rates: What the Experts Are Saying
With mortgage rates so low, most experts agree the only direction to go is up. The question now: how fast will it happen?
Most experts believe rates will be relatively flat in October. “Our mortgage rates forecast is that we will finish the year with interest rates higher than where they are today,” says Ali Wolf, chief economist at Zonda, a California-based housing data and consultancy firm. “But, we’re not expecting an overnight shoot up where all of a sudden mortgage rates are at 3.5% or 4%.”
Rates moved up and down throughout the year but have stayed close to 3%, much lower than pre-pandemic levels. But there are signs that interest rates will trend higher toward the end of this year and into 2022. The Federal Reserve has taken strong measures over the last 18 months to keep rates low. However, economic factors such as high inflation may push the Federal Reserve to announce a change to its pandemic-era policies in the coming months.
Barring a significant unexpected event, we aren’t likely to see mortgage and refinance rates skyrocket overnight. But, borrowers can reasonably expect higher rates in December 2021 or January 2022 than they would today.
What the October 2021 Mortgage Rate Forecast Means for You
Today’s rates are still exceptionally low compared to historical rate standards. If rates remain in a similar ballpark in October, that’s great news for borrowers who haven’t refinanced yet, or those who could potentially benefit from refinancing again. Low rates and rising home prices have given homeowners all sorts of options to refinance. You could tap your home equity with a cash-out refinance to consolidate high-interest debt or finance a home improvement project. A rate and term refinance could lower your interest rate and reduce your monthly payment.
Keep in mind that your interest rate isn’t everything. Make sure your plan accounts for what you’ll pay up front in closing costs, specifically the lender fees, which can greatly increase the cost of refinancing.
Unfortunately for homebuyers, today’s hot housing market has pushed prices higher. Many buyers may be eligible for rock-bottom rates, only to have potential savings erased by the need to pay more to get an offer accepted. Some experts see signs that home prices are starting to cool, ever so slightly. But don’t expect prices to drop. They are likely to continue to increase, just at a slower pace. Rather than trying to time the market, it’s best to understand how much house you can afford and stay within your budget. If now is the right time for you to buy, then consider expanding your search to more affordable areas.
What Are Today’s Mortgage Rates?
On Tuesday, October 19, 2021, according to Bankrate’s latest survey of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 3.170% with an APR of 3.340%. The average 15-year fixed mortgage rate is 2.440% with an APR of 2.680%. The average 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) rate is 2.800% with an APR of 3.910%.
Current Mortgage and Refinance Rates
|30-Year Fixed Rate||3.160%||3.280%|
|30-Year FHA Rate||2.760%||3.640%|
|30-Year VA Rate||2.850%||3.060%|
|30-Year Fixed Jumbo Rate||3.160%||3.220%|
|20-Year Fixed Rate||3.010%||3.150%|
|15-Year Fixed Rate||2.440%||2.620%|
|15-Year Fixed Jumbo Rate||2.440%||2.500%|
|5/1 ARM Rate||2.720%||3.980%|
|5/1 ARM Jumbo Rate||2.730%||3.690%|
|7/1 ARM Rate||2.860%||4.000%|
|7/1 ARM Jumbo Rate||2.940%||3.920%|
|10/1 ARM Rate||3.440%||4.000%|
|30-Year Fixed Rate||3.170%||3.340%|
|30-Year FHA Rate||2.720%||3.590%|
|30-Year VA Rate||2.820%||2.990%|
|30-Year Fixed Jumbo Rate||3.170%||3.270%|
|20-Year Fixed Rate||3.030%||3.190%|
|15-Year Fixed Rate||2.440%||2.680%|
|15-Year Fixed Jumbo Rate||2.450%||2.520%|
|5/1 ARM Rate||2.800%||3.910%|
|5/1 ARM Jumbo Rate||2.950%||3.600%|
|7/1 ARM Rate||2.910%||3.820%|
|7/1 ARM Jumbo Rate||3.090%||3.660%|
|10/1 ARM Rate||3.360%||3.990%|
Rates as of Tuesday, October 19, 2021
About These Rates
These rate averages are based on weekday mortgage rate information provided by national lenders to Bankrate.com, which like NextAdvisor is owned by Red Ventures. These averages provide borrowers a broad view of average rates that can inform borrowers when comparing lender offers. These average rates are updated daily, though it is possible rates have changed since this was last updated.
How to Use This Mortgage Rate Table
Our mortgage rate table features the average interest rates and annual percentage rates (APRs) for the most popular types of mortgage loans. It has rates for 15-year, 30-year, and 20-year loan terms. It also includes government-backed mortgages, such as VA loans, FHA loans, and various adjustable-rate mortgages.
These rate averages will help you determine how the length of your mortgage’s repayment term and the type of loan you get will impact your interest rate. Shorter loans usually have lower interest rates, and longer loans typically come with higher rates. Government-backed loans can have lower mortgage rates, especially if you have a lower credit score, but the same loans can have potentially higher fees, which drives up the APR.
The Impact a Good Mortgage Rate Can Have
Your mortgage rate is the interest you pay on your remaining loan balance. It’s expressed as a percentage, and if it’s fixed, it will never change. Adjustable mortgage rates are fixed for a limited amount of time, perhaps 3-10 years, and then typically reset every year after the introductory period.
The longer your mortgage’s repayment period, the more interest you’ll pay overall. For a traditional 30-year mortgage, you could end up paying over 50% of what you initially borrowed just in interest. Here’s what you’d pay in interest for a $150,000 30-year mortgage at 3.3% and 4.3%, according to NextAdvisor’s mortgage calculator.
|Loan Term||Loan Amount||Interest Rate||Monthly Payment||Total Interest Paid|
Why It’s Important to Shop for Multiple Quotes
When you’re getting a mortgage, it’s important to compare offers from a variety of lenders. Every lender will evaluate your financial situation differently. So getting multiple quotes will allow you to choose the offer with the best rate and fees. The rate difference between the highest and lowest rates lenders offer you could be as high as 0.75%, according to a report by the fintech startup Haus.
However, the interest rate isn’t the only factor you need to consider when comparing mortgage lenders. The fees each lender charges can vary just as much as the interest rate. So the offer with the lowest rate may not be the best deal if you’re paying excessive upfront fees. To compare rates and fees, take a look at the Loan Estimate form that lenders are required to provide within three business days of receiving your application. The Loan Estimate is a standardized form, which makes it easy to compare quotes.
You can visit NextAdvisor’s comprehensive list of mortgage lender reviews here.
Mortgages: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How do I find the best mortgage rate?
Finding the best home mortgage rate is a matter of knowing your goals and picking the right tool to get the job done. The best mortgage for you may not always be the one with the lowest interest rate. Factors like how long you keep your home loan will impact your decision.
If you plan on keeping your home loan long-term, then a fixed-rate mortgage is ideal. Mortgage rates today are very reasonable for fixed-rate 10-, 15-, or 30-year mortgages. Locking in a low rate is a smart choice. But you can get lower mortgage rates with some adjustable-rate loans too. If you plan on only keeping your home (or current mortgage) for a short period of time, then you may be able to pay less interest with an ARM.
How do I find personalized mortgage rates?
Finding personalized mortgage interest rates is as easy as talking to your local mortgage broker or searching online. While most factors that impact mortgage interest rates are out of your control, rates still vary from person to person. Lenders charge higher home mortgage rates to borrowers they deem riskier. So having a high credit score (740+) will get you the best interest rates. Lenders also look at how much you are borrowing compared to the home’s value; this is known as loan-to-value, or LTV. You’ll get a better rate when the LTV is below 80%. So if your future home has a value of $200,000, you’ll get the best rates if the loan is for $160,000 or less.
When shopping around for the best rates, consider a variety of lenders, like local banks, national banks, credit unions, or online lenders. Be sure to compare interest rates, fees, and other terms of the mortgage. Also, mortgage rates are constantly changing, so getting rate quotes from multiple lenders in a short time period makes it easier to get an accurate comparison. If that’s too much legwork, you could work with a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers don’t directly issue loans. Instead, they work with lenders to find you the best deal. But their services aren’t free. They work on commission, which is usually paid by the lender.
What is a good mortgage rate?
Average mortgage rates have been at historically low levels for months, even dipping below 3% for 30-year fixed-rate loans for the first time. If you can get a mortgage with an interest rate below 3%, you could be getting the deal of a lifetime.
Even if you’re getting a low interest rate, you need to pay attention to the fees. Hidden inside a good mortgage rate can be excessive fees or discount points that can offset the savings you’re getting with a low rate.
How are mortgage rates set?
Mortgage rates fluctuate for the same reasons home prices change – supply, demand, inflation, and even the U.S. employment rate can all impact mortgage rates. The demand for homes isn’t necessarily a sign of where mortgage rates are headed. The best indicator of whether rates will go up or down is the 10-year Treasury bond rate.
When a lender issues a mortgage, it takes that loan and packages it together with a bunch of other mortgages, creating a mortgage-backed security (MBS), which is a type of bond. These bonds are then sold to investors so the bank has money for new loans. Mortgage bonds and 10-year Treasury bonds are similar investments and compete for the same buyers, which is why the rates for both move up or down in tandem.
That’s why, in a slumping economy, when more investors want to purchase safer investments, like mortgage-backed securities and treasury bonds, rates tend to go down. The Federal Reserve has been purchasing MBS and treasury bonds, and this increased demand has led to the lowest mortgage rates on record.
When is the right time to get a mortgage?
Before you apply for a mortgage, you should have a proven reliable source of income and enough saved up to cover the down payment and closing costs. If you can save at least 20% for a down payment, you can skip paying for private mortgage insurance and qualify for better interest rates.
The best time to apply is when you’re ready. But there are other details to consider when timing your home purchase. Because home sales slow down during the winter, you may be able to get a better price in the spring. However, general nationwide trends don’t always apply to every real estate market. Talk with local experts in your home shopping area to get a better sense of the market.
How do I choose the best mortgage lender?
You should always compare several different lenders when shopping for a home loan. Not only will the rates and fees vary, but the quality of service as well. Regardless of what lender you end up working with, it’s important to find someone that can help your individual challenges. For example, if you’re a military veteran getting a VA loan, you’ll want to work with someone who has experience with those types of loans.
To find a trusted lender, you can look at online reviews, or even better, ask around. Your real estate agent and friends who recently purchased a home are great sources for mortgage lender recommendations. Try comparing a variety of different mortgage lenders. The best mortgage lender for you may be a bank, credit union, mortgage broker, or an online mortgage lender, depending on your situation.
What is a mortgage rate lock?
Mortgage rates change daily, and that can be a problem when it can take more than a month to close a refinance loan. The solution offered by most lenders is a mortgage rate lock.
With a rate lock, your interest rate won’t change for a set amount of time. If there are delays in closing your loan and your rate lock will expire before you can complete the refinance, you may be able to get an extension. If that happens, be sure to ask if there are fees for extending the rate lock.
When should I lock my mortgage rate?
Right now, mortgage rates are historically low, so it’s a good idea to lock your rate as early in the mortgage application process as possible. Rates move up and down from day to day, and knowing exactly where they’ll move is impossible. A rate lock will protect you from potential interest rate increases, which could unexpectedly increase the cost of your home loan.
If you’re concerned about interest rates dropping after you lock in your rate, ask your lender for a “float down.” With this option, you get the lower of the two rates. Pay attention to the fine print, though. Typically, you can only reduce your mortgage rate if it drops by a certain percentage, and there are likely to be fees associated with this option.
What are the mortgage rate trends for 2021?
The expectation for mortgage rates in 2021 is that they will grow as the economy recovers. However, our economic recovery is unlikely to follow a straight line, so there will be ups and downs along the way.
After starting the year at a record low, the average 30-year mortgage rate climbed to 3.18% by the end of March. For the past three months, rates stayed below 3% before moving higher at the end of September. So even though the long-term overall trend will be rising rates, there will be ups and downs from month to month. But overall, rates are expected to remain historically favorably for months to come.
What is a mortgage?
A mortgage is a type of secured loan that is used to purchase a home. The word “mortgage” actually has roots in Old French and Latin.. It literally means “death pledge.” Thankfully, it was never meant to be a loan you paid for until you died (although it might feel that way), but rather a commitment to pay until the pledge itself “died” (i.e., the loan was paid off).
You can also get a mortgage to replace your existing home loan, known as a refinance.
What is a mortgage rate?
A mortgage rate is the interest lenders charge on a mortgage. Mortgage rates come in two forms: fixed or variable.
Fixed rates never change for the life of your loan — and in exchange for this certainty, the rate is higher on longer loans.
Variable-rate mortgages can have lower interest rates upfront, but fluctuate over the term of your loan based on broader economic factors. How frequently a variable-rate mortgage changes is based on the loan’s terms. For example, a 5/1 ARM (adjustable-rate mortgage) would have a fixed rate for the first five years of the loan, then change every year after that.
How does a mortgage work?
A mortgage is a type of secured loan where the property – often your home – is the collateral. So you’ll never be able to take out a mortgage without having some sort of real estate attached to it. Mortgage loans are issued by banks, credit unions, and other different types of lenders.
Aside from paying the loan back, you pay for a mortgage in two ways: fees and interest. Interest is paid on your loan balance throughout the life of the loan and is built into your monthly payment. Mortgage fees are usually paid upfront and are part of the loan’s closing costs. Some fees may be charged annually or monthly, like private mortgage insurance.
Mortgages are repaid over what is known as the loan term. The most common loan term is 30 years. You can also get a mortgage with a shorter term, like 15 years. Short-term loans have higher monthly payments but lower interest rates. Mortgages with longer terms have lower monthly payments, but you’ll typically pay a higher interest rate.
How do I get a mortgage?
Getting a mortgage is the most important part of the homebuying process. It’s likely the largest loan you’ll ever take out. So finding the right lender and getting the best deal can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
Here’s what you need to do.
- Shop around and compare multiple lenders and loans
There are lots of different types of lenders. Looking at the loans and programs that banks, credit unions, and brokers offer will help you understand all of your options.
2. Apply for preapproval
Before you start shopping for a home, you’ll need a preapproval letter. A mortgage preapproval is different from a formal loan application in that it doesn’t affect your credit and doesn’t guarantee you’re approved. But it does give you an idea of your likelihood of approval.
3. Submit an application
Once you’re ready to start comparing loan offers, submit an application. Until you apply, the lender won’t be able to give you an official estimate of the fees and interest rate you qualify for.
To find the lowest rate and fees, you should submit applications with two or three lenders. Once you have each Loan Estimate in hand, it’s easier to compare and determine which offer is best for you.
4. Underwriting and closing
The final step to getting a mortgage loan is the underwriting and closing process. During underwriting, the lender will review everything from your credit score, credit report, and bank statements to assess if you qualify.
The closing process includes the home inspection and appraisal. The final day of closing is when you’ll sign the dotted line, take the keys to your new home, and officially have a mortgage.
What is the difference between APR and interest rate?
The interest rate is the cost of borrowing the money, and it is advertised as a percentage of the loan. APR stands for annual percentage rate, and it includes the interest rate plus other fees associated with the mortgage. So the APR will provide you with a better idea of the total cost of financing the loan. You may find lenders offering the same interest rate and monthly payments, but if one is charging higher upfront fees, then the APR will be higher.
The Federal Truth in Lending Act requires lenders to disclose the APR, but the fees can vary. When comparing APRs between lenders, ask which fees are not included for better comparison.
What are the different types of mortgages?
Mortgages come with all sorts of different interest rates and terms. These influence how long it will take to pay off your loan and how much your monthly payments will be.
These are some of the most common types of mortgages home buyers use:
A fixed-rate mortgage has a set interest rate for the life of the loan. With this type of loan, your mortgage rate will never change. Your overall monthly payments could still fluctuate based on property taxes or other factors. But a fixed rate locks in how much you’ll pay in interest over the course of your loan. And if interest rates drop to below your current rate, you can refinance to a lower rate.
Two of the more popular mortgage terms for fixed-rate loans are 15- and 30-year mortgages.
ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage)
An ARM is usually a 30-year term loan with an interest rate that changes over time with market averages. When the interest rate changes depends on the loan. Common ARM terms are 5/1, 7/1, and 10/1. The first number designates the first year your interest rate will change, and the second number is how frequently the interest rate resets after the first time. So a 5/1 ARM adjusts the rate after 5 years and then annually after that. Most ARMs reset annually after the initial adjustment.
There are several types of government-secured loans backed by different departments of the government, including the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Qualifying for these loans is a bit different than with conventional loans. For example, USDA loans are only available for homes in an eligible rural-designated area, and VA loans are only an option if you meet the military service requirements. FHA loans typically have lower credit score requirements, but you will have to pay mortgage insurance for the life of the loan.
What is the best mortgage loan type?
The best mortgage is the one that helps you meet your housing needs for as little financing costs as possible. There are a few factors to consider when it comes to getting the right mortgage.
Some experts recommend getting a 15-year mortgage because you’ll pay far less interest and be debt-free in half the time compared to a 30-year loan. With a 30-year loan, your monthly payments can be significantly lower, but you’ll pay much more in interest over the loan’s life. So it’s a tradeoff.
There are also tradeoffs in choosing a government-backed versus a conventional loan. For example, FHA mortgages can have lower credit score requirements than conventional loans. But unlike conventional loans, FHA loans require mortgage insurance even if your loan-to-value ratio drops below 80%.
If you want a set interest rate for the life of the loan and more stable monthly payments, then a fixed-rate mortgage is ideal. The interest rate on a fixed-rate mortgage never changes.
Regardless of what loan type you go with, remember, it’s not the loan you have to keep forever. Even if you stay in the same home for the rest of your life, you can refinance your mortgage to take advantage of better terms or rates.
How much can I borrow for a mortgage?
The amount of money you can borrow is affected by the property, type of loan, and your personal financial situation.
During the mortgage preapproval process, the lender will look at your overall financial profile to determine how much it will lend to you. A big factor in this process is your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Your DTI is calculated by dividing your total monthly debt payments by your monthly income. In most cases, the maximum DTI is typically 43%. So if you make $5,000 a month, your mortgage payment and other monthly debt payments can’t exceed $2,150.
To protect its investment, a lender will typically only let you borrow a certain percentage of a property’s value. So the value of the property can also limit how much you can borrow. Most mortgage loans require a down payment of anywhere from 3% to 20%. You may be able to borrow 100% of the property’s value with certain government-backed loans, like Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Loans or U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA) loans.
What is a discount point?
Discount points are fees you pay the lender upfront in exchange for a lower interest rate. Buying down the rate with discount points can save you money if you’re planning on keeping your home for a long time. But if you’re going to sell or refinance before the full loan term is up, paying more fees upfront may not make sense.
Discount points can be part of a good deal, but you need to make sure you know when they are being added to your loan. When you’re comparing mortgage offers, be sure to ask if the interest rate includes discount points.
Renting vs. buying a home
Deciding whether it makes sense to rent or buy is about more than just comparing your monthly rent to a potential mortgage payment. How long you plan on staying in that area should also factor into the decision. Buying a home requires you to pay thousands of dollars in upfront fees. If you sell the house in the next two or three years, then you may not have enough equity built up in the home to offset the fees you wouldn’t have paid if you were renting. You also need to factor in maintenance and upkeep costs with owning a home.
However, over the long term, buying a home can be a good way to increase your net worth. And when you buy, you can lock in a fixed interest rate, which means your monthly payments are less likely to increase compared to renting. Owning a home also has the added benefit of providing a stronger sense of stability for you and your family. And when you own, you have the freedom to customize your living space however you like.