A VA loan can help qualified Veterans, military members, and their families gain access to homeownership in ways conventional loans cannot.
For buyers taking advantage of their VA loan benefit, here’s what you need to know about the current VA mortgage rate trends.
Closing the Gap
The VA loan program has been shown to reduce inequalities in the housing market by offering service members an alternative path to homeownership where they might otherwise be shut out. In 2019, the spread between homeownership rates of Black and White veterans was 19.6 percentage points, according to a study by the mortgage lender Veterans United Home Loans. In the non-military population, that gap was nearly 30 percentage points.
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What’s Going On With Rising Mortgage Rates?
The surge in mortgage rates so far this year is due to a variety of economic factors. Persistently high inflation is a big one, Jacob Channel, senior economic analyst at LendingTree told us. May’s inflation report shows 8.6% inflation and the highest in 40 years. In response, the Federal Reserve increased its benchmark short-term interest rate to combat that inflation. The Fed raised rates by 50 basis points in May and by 75 points in June, since inflation remained higher than expected.
Recently, we saw mortgage rates surge after the inflation report and ahead of the Fed’s announcement. “I think what we’re seeing is that lenders had already anticipated that the Fed was going to raise the fed funds rate by 75 basis points and they began to preemptively push mortgage rates up,” Jacob Channel, senior economist at LendingTree, told us.
Financial markets are still responding to other global factors that can affect the economy, namely China’s COVID lockdown and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “We have a lot of factors like that that are putting upward pressure on mortgage rates,” Channel says. “The volatility has been through the roof,” Shashank Shekhar, founder and CEO of InstaMortgage, told us. “The market has been adjusting to a new news cycle practically every single day.”
What Can Homebuyers Do About Rising Mortgage Rates?
A higher mortgage rate leads to a higher monthly payment, which can eat into your total buying power. But, experts also point out that these 5.5+% rates we are seeing right now are still considered normal from a historical perspective. It was only a few short years ago when a “good rate” was around 5%.
Rising mortgage rates also mean the rate you might be quoted one day could be significantly different than one you get the next day. Experts caution against trying to time the market to get the best rate. “If you think you’re going to like the rate, lock it,” Jennifer Beeston, senior vice president of mortgage lending at Guaranteed Rate, told us. “Because it’s probably going to change in 20 minutes.”
Be sure to get quotes from different lenders to ensure you’re getting the best deal, experts say. “The rate highly impacts your monthly affordability for as long as you will hold this home,” Skylar Olsen, principal economist at Tomo, a digital real estate and mortgage company, told us. “It is actually a critical piece of this decision, and that takes shopping around.”
What Can Homebuyers Do About Rising Home Prices?
When thinking about your mortgage rate, it’s also important to consider what’s happening to housing prices. According to data from Realtor.com, the median U.S. home listing price was $447,000 in May 2022, another all-time high. Experts say the big uptick in prices is due to a mismatch between supply and demand: There are a lot of people trying to buy houses, and there aren’t enough houses to go around. That means you probably shouldn’t wait around and hope for the market to crash. “I don’t think buyers should be betting on any really significant price declines,” Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, told us.
What you can do is think beyond just the mortgage rate. Be sure you’re in a good position to buy a house. “The most important thing that any would-be homebuyer should do is take stock of where they are personally,” said Channel. “Do I have enough cash to make my mortgage payments, to put money down on a down payment? Is my credit score good?” Then, be patient and be creative with your home search. Don’t rush for the first houses you see, he says. Look in unexpected places. One possibility is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s page of foreclosed homes. “The more you plan and the more diligent you are before you really even start going out house hunting actively, the easier it is to navigate a housing market that is as hot and fast as this one,” Channel says.
It’s more important than ever to shop around for a mortgage when you’re in the market for a house, said Channel. When rates aren’t going up as dramatically as they are now, quotes from different lenders can regularly vary by half a percentage point. With the market moving so quickly, that could be even higher.
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What Are Today’s VA Mortgage Rates?
On Tuesday, July 05, 2022 according to Bankrate’s latest survey of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, the average 30-year VA mortgage rate is 4.700% with an APR of 4.790%. The average 30-year VA mortgage refinance rate is 4.770% with an APR of 4.940%.
Current VA Mortgage Rates
|30-Year Fixed Rate||5.610%||5.630%|
|30-Year FHA Rate||4.710%||5.520%|
|30-Year VA Rate||4.770%||4.940%|
|30-Year Fixed Jumbo Rate||5.560%||5.570%|
|20-Year Fixed Rate||5.570%||5.590%|
|15-Year Fixed Rate||4.870%||4.900%|
|15-Year Fixed Jumbo Rate||4.830%||4.840%|
|10-Year Fixed Rate||4.780%||4.810%|
|5/1 ARM Rate||4.170%||5.590%|
|5/1 ARM Jumbo Rate||4.190%||5.330%|
|7/1 ARM Rate||4.850%||4.950%|
|7/1 ARM Jumbo Rate||4.870%||4.870%|
|10/1 ARM Rate||4.910%||4.960%|
|30-Year Fixed Rate||5.620%||5.630%|
|30-Year FHA Rate||4.760%||5.560%|
|30-Year VA Rate||4.700%||4.790%|
|30-Year Fixed Jumbo Rate||5.540%||5.550%|
|20-Year Fixed Rate||5.580%||5.600%|
|15-Year Fixed Rate||4.860%||4.890%|
|15-Year Fixed Jumbo Rate||4.810%||4.820%|
|10-Year Fixed Rate||4.820%||4.850%|
|5/1 ARM Rate||4.270%||5.700%|
|5/1 ARM Jumbo Rate||4.290%||5.700%|
|7/1 ARM Rate||4.840%||4.980%|
|7/1 ARM Jumbo Rate||4.860%||4.880%|
|10/1 ARM Rate||4.900%||4.970%|
Rates as of Tuesday, July 05, 2022
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. We feature both the interest rate and the annual percentage rate (APR), which includes additional lender fees, so you can get a better idea of the overall cost of the loan. The actual interest rate you can qualify for may be different from the average rates quoted in our rate table. But these rates are useful for giving you a benchmark to use when comparing loan offers by giving you a sense of how the type of mortgage and the length of the repayment term impacts your interest rate and APR.
VA Loan: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a VA loan?
A VA loan is a mortgage backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. A VA loan has several advantages over other types of mortgages, including competitive interest rates, no private mortgage insurance (PMI) requirement, and the option for financing a home with no down payment.
VA purchase loans are only available to borrowers with qualifying military service who are purchasing a primary residence. In addition to purchase loans, there are also VA-backed loans for refinancing your existing mortgage and direct VA loans for Native American Veterans.
Who qualifies for a VA loan?
The main requirement to qualify for a VA loan is military service or you must be a surviving spouse of a veteran. The amount of time you need to serve in the military to qualify varies depending on when you served. But, if you’re on active duty, you only need 90 continuous days before you’re eligible for a VA loan.
Like other government-secured loans, a VA mortgage is typically easier to qualify for than a conventional loan. While each lender has specific credit score requirements, the VA doesn’t have an official minimum credit score requirement. If you have a blemish on your credit report, like a foreclosure or bankruptcy, a VA loan can be easier to qualify for. You may be eligible for a new VA mortgage in as little as one or two years after a bankruptcy, depending on the type of bankruptcy. With a conventional mortgage, the waiting period is at least twice as long.
How do I compare VA loans and other mortgage rates?
There are a few key differences between VA loans and other mortgages. Unlike most mortgages, VA loans don’t require private mortgage insurance even if the borrower has less than 20% equity in the property. PMI can cost anywhere from 0.5% to over 2% annually, so avoiding PMI can be a significant savings.
VA loans also have no minimum down payment requirement, so you can finance 100% of the home purchase. The minimum down payment for an Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan is 3.5% and for conventional mortgages it can be as little as 3%, although it can be much higher.
However, in lieu of PMI or a down payment, VA loans have an upfront funding fee which is typically 1.4%-3.6% of the loan amount. The VA mortgage funding fee can be rolled into your loan and wounded or disabled service members may qualify for a funding fee waiver.
What is the difference between a VA loan vs. 30-year fixed mortgage?
Compared to a conventional 30-year fixed mortgage, a 30-year VA loan has some distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Aside from what we already covered (no down payment, no PMI, etc.) a VA loan is typically easier to qualify for than a conventional loan, assuming you meet the military service requirements. So a borrower with a weaker credit history may have a better chance of qualifying for a VA loan or getting a better mortgage rate.
However, VA loans have limitations. They can’t be used for second homes or investment properties. Not only that, but the upfront funding fee increases each time a veteran takes advantage of the VA mortgage benefit. For example, if your down payment is less than 5%, the funding fee jumps from 2.3% to 3.6% after the first use of your VA loan benefit.
What is the difference between a VA purchase rate Vs. a VA refinance rate?
Typically, VA purchase rates will be lower than VA refinance rates. However, there are a few factors that play into what rate you can qualify for.
The main things to pay attention to are your credit score and loan-to-value ratio (LTV). But the type of mortgage is also important. You can take equity out of your home with a VA cash-out refinance, but cash-out refinance loans often have higher interest rates than standard rate-and-term refinancing.
The length of your repayment term will also move your rate in one direction or another. Longer-term loans have higher rates and shorter-term loans have lower rates. So 15-year mortgages have lower interest rates than 30-year loans, all else being equal.
What are VA loan fees?
For the most part, you’ll pay the same types of closing costs on a VA loan as what you would for other types of mortgages. But there are some differences, there are certain fees that are allowed, and others that aren’t. The biggest extra fee you’ll need to pay is the VA funding fee, which is a one-time upfront payment of 1.4% to 3.6% of the loan amount for most types of VA mortgages for home purchases.
In addition, lenders are allowed, but not required, to add a lender fee of up to 1% of the loan balance. But, under specific circumstances, you may qualify for a VA Funding Fee waiver, and VA loans never charge a mortgage insurance premium. The VA also prohibits lenders from charging certain specific fees on its loans, such as attorney fees, prepayment penalties, or broker commissions. And, if you’re taking advantage of a VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL), then you may be able to skip the appraisal and save on those fees.
When should I consider a VA Loan?
If you meet the military service requirement to qualify for a VA loan, it can be an excellent option. But depending on your personal financial situation you may find that even if you’re eligible for a VA loan, it’s not the best deal for you.
What are the pros to a VA loan?
Compared to conventional home loans, a VA loan typically has less strict qualification standards. So you’re likely to have an easier time qualifying with a lower credit score or higher debt-to-income ratio compared to other types of mortgages.
VA loans also usually have lower interest rates than comparable conventional loans and never require PMI. A VA mortgage may require you to pay less out of pocket to purchase a home. You can finance 100% of the home’s purchase price and the VA limits certain closing costs and may be able to roll the VA funding fee into the loan.
What are the cons to a VA loan?
The biggest extra expense associated with a VA loan is the initial funding fee. If you don’t qualify for a funding fee waiver, it can be a big consideration. The funding fee is based on the amount of your down payment and whether or not you’ve taken out a VA loan before. While the funding fee can be as little as 0.5% for certain VA refinance loans, it caps out at 3.6% for repeat borrowers who have a down payment of less than 5%.
If you have the ability to put 20% down on your home purchase with a conventional loan, you can waive the PMI requirement and avoid the funding fee at the same time. This negates some of the benefit of a VA loan and because you’re borrowing less you’ll have smaller monthly payments and pay less in interest.
VA loans also have more rigorous appraisal standards than conventional mortgages. In a hot real estate market, sellers are likely to have multiple offers to choose from. So the extra hurdle of having to navigate a VA mortgage appraisal could be a deal breaker because you can’t waive the appraisal contingency on a VA loan.
Who sets VA loan rates?
There is no single entity that sets VA loan interest rates. Instead, individual lenders offer you certain rates based on broader market conditions, your personal financial situation.
The mortgage rates you’re eligible for will vary depending on:
How each individual lender evaluates your finances varies, so you want to shop around. By comparing offers from multiple lenders, you can find not only the loan with the best interest rate, but also with the lowest fees.
How do I find a personalized VA loan rate?
You have to compare mortgage lenders to find the best personalized VA loan rates.
The interest rates you can qualify for are based on your credit score, income, and other factors. However, because the VA guarantees the loan you can expect a VA mortgage rate to be lower than other mortgages with similar terms. But you’ll want to pay attention to the annual percentage rate (APR), which also takes some of the upfront fees into account.