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Published: Nov 13, 2020 6 min read

The real estate market remains very competitive for buyers looking for their perfect home, despite recent signs that it may be starting to lose some steam. Low interest rates, short supply, and higher than usual demand have led to more than half of homes being involved in a bidding war.

Today's Mortgage Rates

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage was 3.523% on Thursday. The average rate for a 30-year refinance was 4.336%.

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.

Mortgage Rates for November 13, 2020
Loan type Average Rate
30-Year Fixed Loan 3.532%
15-Year Fixed Loan 2.501%
30-Year FHA Loan 3.407%
30-Year VA Loan 3.501%
30-Year Jumbo Loan 3.748%
Source: Money | Date: Nov. 12, 2020 | Rates Assume a Credit Score of 700
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Mortgage rates vary from state to state. On Thursday, borrowers in Illinois were quoted the lowest mortgage rates — at 3.285%. People looking for mortgages in Nevada saw the highest average rate at 3.845%. Nationwide, borrowers with the highest credit scores, 740 and above, were quoted rates averaging 3.009%, while those with credit of 640 or below were shown rates of 4.729% — a 1.72 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 2.84% with 0.7 points paid for the week ending November 12, a 0.6 percentage point jump from last week's historic low of 2.78%. The mortgage purchaser's weekly survey reflects borrowers who put 20% down on conforming loans and have excellent credit.

Today's Refinance Rates

Money's survey also shows that the offered rate for a 30-year refinance for someone with a 740 credit score was 3.775% on Thursday. Last November, the average mortgage rate (including fees) was 3.874%.

Refinance Rates for November 13, 2020
Loan type Average Rate
30-Year Fixed Loan 3.775%
15-Year Fixed Loan 2.894%
30-Year FHA Loan 3.988%
30-Year VA Loan 4.029%
30-Year Jumbo Loan 3.691%
Source: Money | Date: Nov. 12, 2020 | Rates Assume a Credit Score of 740

A homeowner with a $200,000 mortgage balance currently paying 3.874% on a 30-year could potentially cut their monthly payment from $940 to $929 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 today?

According to real estate brokerage Redfin, 57% of its home offers were involved in a bidding war during the month of October. It was the sixth consecutive month in which more than half of offers faced competing bids. However, the share of homes receiving multiple offers has been declining since peaking at 59% in August.

The modest drop may be an indication that the real estate market is starting to slow down. However, there are still a large number of buyers actively involved in the market. After months of a buying frenzy spurred by record-low interest rates, the flexibility of remote work, and a severely understocked supply of homes, the slight decline could be a sign that buyers are having a harder time finding the right property.

"Has the market calmed down since the summer? Yes, but every offer I submit still faces multiple competing bids and we continue to see a lot more buyers than we normally would at this time of year," said Melissa Killham, a Redfin agent in Kenosha, Wisconsin. "The typical home gets four or five offers, compared to eight or nine in back in September. The buyers who are in the market right now don't need to buy. They're buying if they find the perfect home with more space and a big backyard, and if not, they're staying put until they do."

Of the 24 metro areas included in the survey of Redfin agents, 16 saw more than half of home offers involved in a bidding war. The highest bidding rate occurred in Salt Lake City, where 75% of offers faced competition. San Diego came in second, with 73%, followed by San Francisco with 70%. The lowest bidding rate occurred in Las Vegas, with just 38% of offers facing competition. Sin City was followed by Miami, with a bidding rate of 39%, Chicago at 41%, and Detroit at 44%.

Bottom line:

Bidding Wars Are Back. Here's How to Win Your Dream Home

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