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Courtesy of Tina Sorick

When Tina Sorick refinanced the mortgage on her Edmond, Okla., home in June, she found it hard to complain about her new rate. After all, it dropped by more than a full percentage point, going from 5.25% to 4.2% in one fell swoop. She was also able to get a shorter loan term, which will mean paying that debt off nine years sooner.

Still, the rate wasn’t exactly what Sorick was pulling for when she initially applied. “I was actually hoping for a bit lower,” she says. “I had heard that COVID-19 was making interest rates drop, so I was hoping for something in the 3.5% range.”

It’s true: rates have been declining since the coronavirus pandemic first emerged in the U.S. Just last week, rates dipped to 3.07%—the lowest point on record and the fifth all-time low since March, according to Freddie Mac. While those numbers certainly look good in headlines, the truth is not all borrowers will snag them.

That’s because mortgage lenders have tightened credit standards in recent months, largely due to economic uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. Given these new standards, Sorick’s credit score—which falls into the “good” category for all three major credit bureaus—likely played a role in her less-than-ideal rate.

“We’ve certainly seen a tightening in credit availability over the last few months,” says Joel Kan, head of economic and industry forecasting at the Mortgage Bankers Association. “As things get weaker or more uncertain, lenders tighten their credit standards, and they raise their credit score requirements. Things may be a little bit harder for someone with a lower or marginal credit score.”

Rates are subject to change. All information provided here is accurate as of the publish date.