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Published: Oct 26, 2020 6 min read

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage was 3.547% on Friday. The average rate for a 30-year refinance was 4.325%.

Money's current mortgage rates include data from over 8,000 lenders across the United States and are updated daily. These rates include discount points and represent what a borrower with a 20% down payment and 700 credit scores — roughly the national average FICO score — would have been quoted.

30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage
Rate of October 23, 2020

Mortgage rates vary from state to state. On Friday, borrowers in Illinois were quoted the lowest mortgage rates — at 3.34%. People looking for mortgages in Nevada saw the highest average rate at 3.814%. Nationwide, borrowers with the highest credit scores, 740 and above, were quoted rates averaging 3.084%, while those with credit of 640 or below were shown rates of 5.043% — a 1.959 percentage-point spread.

You may be able to negotiate a lower rate if you shop around or if you have other accounts with the lender. (Money's picks for the best mortgage lenders are here.) Currently, some banks are hiking up advertised rates to keep demand in check, so you may be offered a lower rate if you reach out directly.

Freddie Mac's widely quoted Primary Mortgage Market Survey put rates at 2.80% with 0.6 points paid for the week ending October 22, a new record low. The mortgage purchaser's weekly survey reflects borrowers who put 20% down on conforming loans and have excellent credit.

Refinance rates today

Money's survey also shows that the offered rate for a 30-year refinance for someone with a 740 credit score was 3.749% on Friday. Last October, the average mortgage rate (including fees) was 3.859%.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage refi
Rate of October 23, 2020

A homeowner with a $200,000 mortgage balance currently paying 3.859% on a 30-year could potentially cut their monthly payment from $939 to $926 by financing at the current lower rates. To determine if it's worth it to refinance your mortgage, also consider the closing fees you paid on your current mortgage, how much your new lender is charging and how long you have left on your loan term. (Our picks for the best lenders for refinancing are here).

What else is happening in the housing market right now?

The median home sale price increased 15% from last year to a record high of $320,625, according to real estate brokerage Redfin's Housing Market Update for the four week period ending October 18.

At the same time, the median asking price of new listings was up 14% over the same time period last year. The number of pending home sales were still 32% higher than last year. The average sale-to-price ratio, which measures how close to its asking price a home is sold, was at a record high 99.5%.

“It’s remarkable how this late in the year the market remains highly competitive,” said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. “There are still plenty of homebuyers lying in wait for new listings to hit the market. And when homebuyers see their perfect house listed amid the ongoing shortage of homes for sale, they are willing to pay asking price or even more just to make sure the deal goes through before another buyer swoops in. The election may slow down homebuying activity in the coming weeks as buyers and sellers get anxious about the outcome, but once the dust settles, it’s likely that there will still be a lot of pent-up demand that will heat things right back up.”

During the period included in the report, the number of new listings was up 8% year-over-year. However, the overall number of active listings, or the number of homes for sale at any point during the survey period, was down 29% from last year as homes are selling at a record pace. Forty-five percent of homes under contract had an accepted offer within the first two weeks of being on the market, a pace that is unheard of this late in a typical year.

Mortgage term of the Week

Understanding the lingo can be key to avoiding mistakes when you are buying a home or refinancing your mortgage. For more read: Everything You Need to Know About Mortgage Rates in 2020

Closing: The final step in the mortgage process. It involves the delivery of a deed, the signing of notes, any financial adjustments needed and the disbursement of funds to complete the sale of a property.

Bottom line:

Savvy Homebuyers Are Using an Under-the-Radar Strategy to Win Bidding Wars in 2020

New Construction Home Sales Are Soaring, but Financing a Purchase Can Be Tricky

Are We Headed for Another Foreclosure Crisis? 9 Housing Experts Share Their Predictions

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