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Originally Published: Nov 05, 2020
Originally Published: Nov 05, 2020 Last Updated: Nov 05, 2020 7 min read

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage was 3.411% on Wednesday. The average rate for a 30-year refinance was 4.32%.

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
3.411%
Rate of November 4, 2020
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View Rates for October 03, 2022

Mortgage rates vary from state to state. On Wednesday, borrowers in Kentucky were quoted the lowest mortgage rates — at 3.237%. People looking for mortgages in Nevada saw the highest average rate at 3.718%. Nationwide, borrowers with the highest credit scores, 740 and above, were quoted rates averaging 2.947%, while those with credit of 640 or below were shown rates of 4.734% — a 1.787 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 2.78% with 0.6 points paid for the week ending November 5, a new record low and the twelfth time this year interest rates have set a historic 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 3.655% on Wednesday. Last November, the average mortgage rate (including fees) was 3.874%.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage refi
3.655%
Rate of November 4, 2020

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 $915 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?

The housing market continued on a hot streak as homes sold faster in October than they did in September for the first time since 2011. According to Realtor.com's October Housing Report, homes sold in an average of 53 days last month — one day faster than in September and 13 days faster than in October of 2019. In the 50 largest metro areas, homes sold even faster, spending an average of 45 days on the market.

Homes sold the fastest in Hartford, Connecticut, which saw properties go 23 days faster than last year, followed by Virginia Beach, Virginia and San Diego, California, where homes spent 22 and 20 fewer days on the market respectively.

"In the fall, we normally see homes sell more slowly and prices pull back from peak levels. But this October, we saw a drop in the time it takes to sell a home even while home prices remain at their summer peak," said Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com. "Drawn in by low mortgage rates and the hope of more space, buyers have stayed in the housing market this fall, keeping prices high and pushing time on market to unseasonable lows. Although we saw growth in newly listed properties in the Northeast and West this month, we'll need a consistent wave of fresh homes hitting the market in order to better match persistent buyer demand."

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Median listing prices remained at their summertime high of $350,000. In a typical year, median list prices would have decreased between 1% and 4% from their summer peak by the month of October. Prices were up 12.2% year-over-year. The Northeast saw the largest price gains, increasing by 11.4%, followed by the West with a gain of about 10%, the Midwest, up by 9%, and the South, up by 7.3%.

While prices enjoyed double-digit gains on a national level, increases were slightly lower than last month in the 50 largest metro areas. Home prices in those areas grew by 8.9% after a 9.2% increase in September. Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati were the cities with the highest price gains, each up roughly 16%.

Inventory remains the main roadblock to more sales. Overall inventory was down 38% from the same time last year, with an estimated 500,000 fewer homes available for sale. However, there are some signs of improvement. The number of new listings was down 7.7% from last year, compared to a 13.8% deficit in September. The West and Northeast regions saw the largest year-over-year improvement in new listings, up 7.2% and 4.1% respectively, while the South and Midwest regions were still below last year's levels, down 13.8% and 9.5% respectively.

Mortgage Tip of the Week

Buying a home can be daunting. Follow these expert tips to make the process easier.

Todd Sheinin, chief operating officer of Homespire Mortgage, on the importance of a mortgage preapproval:

For more on how to get a home loan preapproval, read: How to Get Preapproved For a Mortgage: A Step-by-Step Guide for Homebuyers.

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Bottom line:

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

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