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Published: Nov 20, 2020 6 min read

Existing home sales reached an annual rate 6.85 million units in October, rising by more than a quarter from a year earlier to the highest-level since February 2006.

Today's Mortgage Rates

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage was 3.201% on Thursday. The average rate for a 30-year refinance was 4.085%.

Money's 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 20, 2020
Loan type Average Rate
30-Year Fixed Loan 3.201%
15-Year Fixed Loan 2.423%
30-Year FHA Loan 3.142%
30-Year VA Loan 3.244%
30-Year Jumbo Loan 3.626%
Source: Money | Date: Nov. 19, 2020 | Rates Assume a Credit Score of 700

Mortgage rates vary from state to state. On Thursday, borrowers in Illinois were quoted the lowest mortgage rates — at 3.047%. People looking for mortgages in Nevada saw the highest average rate at 3.37%. Nationwide, borrowers with the highest credit scores, 740 and above, were quoted rates averaging 2.867%, while those with credit of 640 or below were shown rates of 4.61% — a 1.743 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 lenders 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 2.72% with 0.7 points paid for the week ending November 19, a 0.12 percentage point drop from last week's 2.84% and the 13th record low set this year. 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 3.338% on Thursday. Last November, the average mortgage rate (including fees) was 3.874%.

Refinance Rates for November 20, 2020
Loan type Average Rate
30-Year Fixed Loan 3.338%
15-Year Fixed Loan 2.756%
30-Year FHA Loan 3.532%
30-Year VA Loan 3.585%
30-Year Jumbo Loan 3.587%
Source: Money | Date: Nov. 19, 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 $880 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 today?

Existing home sales continued their five-month streak of gains in October, according to the National Association of Realtors. Homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.85 million units, an increase of 4.3% over September and 26.6% from October 2019. The total includes completed sales for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops.

Single-family home sales were at an annually adjusted rate of 6.12 million units, up 27% from a year ago. Condos and co-ops were up at an annual rate of 730,000 units.

"Considering that we remain in a period of stubbornly high unemployment relative to pre-pandemic levels, the housing sector has performed remarkably well this year," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR.

Adding, "The surge in sales in recent months has now offset the spring market losses."

Gains were made across all regions. The Midwest led the pack with a month-over-month jump of 8.6% to an annual rate of 1,640,000. The Northeast saw the next highest increase, climbing 4.7% to an annual rate of 900,000 units, followed by the South with a 3.2% increase to an annual rate of 2.91 million units, and the West with a 1.4% increase to an annual rate of 1,400,000 units.

As the housing market continues to show strength despite the economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic, home sales are expected continue well into next year.

"Mortgage rates should remain low, which will support sales going into 2021," commented Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree. "Changes in living preferences due to COVID-19 are also supporting demand as many buyers shop for more space to work from home."

The median existing-home price for all housing types increased to $313,000, up from last October's median price of $271,000. It is the 104th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

Meanwhile, inventory totaled 1.42 million units at the end of October, down 2.7% from September and nearly 20% from last year. At the current pace of sales, unsold inventory is at an all-time low of 2.5 months supply. By comparison, last October ended with a 3.9 month supply.

Bottom line:

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