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Originally Published: Oct 29, 2020
Originally Published: Oct 29, 2020 Last Updated: Oct 29, 2020 6 min read

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage was 3.454% on Wednesday. The average rate for a 30-year refinance was 4.31%.

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
3.454%
Rate of October 28, 2020
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View Rates for October 03, 2022

Mortgage rates vary from state to state. On Wednesday, borrowers in Indiana were quoted the lowest mortgage rates — at 3.274%. People looking for mortgages in Nevada saw the highest average rate at 3.74%. Nationwide, borrowers with the highest credit scores, 740 and above, were quoted rates averaging 2.984%, while those with credit of 640 or below were shown rates of 4.714% — a 1.73 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 2.81% with 0.6 points paid for the week ending October 29. 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 3.707% on Wednesday. Last October, the average mortgage rate (including fees) was 3.859%.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage refi
3.707%
Rate of October 28, 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 $921 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).

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What else is happening in the housing market right now?

There are signs that the housing inventory shortage may finally be easing a bit as new listings seem to be on the rise. According to Realtor.com's Weekly Housing Report for the week ending October 24, new listings were only 2% below last year's level, and significantly better than the previous week when new listings were down 6% year over year. While total listings remain 38% below 2019's numbers, inventory has remained either steady or improved slightly for the past six weeks, indicating that the housing supply is at least holding steady and not getting worse.

"The number of buyers in the market remains well above the seasonal norm, but this week's data shows sellers may be losing some of their grip when it comes to having the upper hand. For the first time since June, we saw an unseasonably large share of price reductions and a slight softening of buyer demand," said Javier Vivas, director of economic research for Realtor.com. "Months of double-digit price gains and a record low number of homes for sale may finally be translating into buyer fatigue in many markets. If this continues, we may see price reductions ramp up and quick home sales ease through the end of the year."

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Listing prices continue to show double-digit gains, with asking prices up 12.2% last week. The price of a typical home remained $350,000 — $38,000 higher than the same time last year. The pace of sales has also remained steady, with homes still selling 14 days faster year-over-year.

However, there has been an increase in the number of home price reductions, which could indicate that the market is starting to cool down. The share of homes with reduced prices reached 5.5% last week, compared to 3.7% in April during the height of the pandemic, and slightly lower than the more typical 6.5% share seen at the same time last year.

Mortgage Tip of the Week

From Jess Kennedy, co-founder of online lender Beeline, on things to look out for in a virtual home tour:

For more on virtual home tours, read: How to Buy a Home When You Can't See It in Person.

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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