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Published: Oct 30, 2020 5 min read

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage was 3.501% on Thursday. The average rate for a 30-year refinance was 4.315%.

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
3.501%
Rate of October 29, 2020
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View Rates for October 03, 2022

Mortgage rates vary from state to state. On Thursday, borrowers in Illinois were quoted the lowest mortgage rates — at 3.264%. People looking for mortgages in Nevada saw the highest average rate at 3.782%. Nationwide, borrowers with the highest credit scores, 740 and above, were quoted rates averaging 2.994%, while those with credit of 640 or below were shown rates of 4.729% — a 1.735 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 3.733% on Thursday. Last October, the average mortgage rate (including fees) was 3.859%.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage refi
3.733%
Rate of October 29, 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 $924 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?

According to the National Association of Realtors, pending home sales dipped slightly in September, down 2.2% month-over-month. The decline breaks a streak of four consecutive months of increases in pending sales. Despite the dip, contract activity remained well above year-ago levels with signings up more than 20%.

"The demand for home buying remains super strong, even with a slight monthly pullback in September, and we're still likely to end the year with more homes sold overall in 2020 than in 2019," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR. "With persistent low mortgage rates and some degree of a continuing jobs recovery, more contract signings are expected in the near future."

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Only in the Northeast region did contract signings increase, gaining 2% over August. Other regions saw slight declines month-over-month. Signing in the Midwest decreased by 3.2%, the West was down 2.6%, and the South dipped by 3%. However, year-over-year, all four regions reported double-digit gains.

The slight decline in signings was a little bit of a surprise. According to Realtor.com, most experts had expected a modest gain in contract signings. The slowdown in pending sales could be an indication that the housing market is becoming more difficult for buyers as many of the more affordable homes have already been purchased, putting a dent in inventory and sending prices skyrocketing.

"Many buyers struggled with steeply rising prices and shrinking inventory of homes for sale," noted Georg Ratiu, senior economist at Realtor.com.

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