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Originally Published: Dec 22, 2020
Originally Published: Dec 22, 2020 Last Updated: Dec 22, 2020 6 min read
Money; Getty Images

The share of home loans enrolled in forbearance plans ticked up this week. The deadline for homeowners to request a pause in mortgage payments was extended.

Mortgage rates ticked up from Monday's average rates.

Today's Mortgage Rates

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage was 3.054% on Monday. On Friday, the average rate was 3.039%.

Money's mortgage rates include the 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 December 22, 2020
Loan type Average Rate
30-Year Fixed Loan 3.054%
15-Year Fixed Loan 2.284%
30-Year FHA Loan 3.094%
30-Year VA Loan 3.192%
30-Year Jumbo Loan 3.581%
Source: Money | Date: Dec. 21, 2020 | Rates assume a credit score of 700

Freddie Mac's widely quoted Primary Mortgage Market Survey put rates at 2.67% with 0.7 points paid for the week ending December 17. It is the 15th new record set this year. The mortgage purchaser's weekly survey reflects borrowers who put 20% down on conforming loans and have excellent credit.

How do I get the best mortgage rates?

Mortgage rates vary from state to state. On Monday, borrowers in Illinois were quoted the lowest mortgage rates — at 2.961%. People looking for mortgages in Arizona saw the highest average rate at 3.164%.

Nationwide, borrowers with the highest credit scores, 740 and above, were quoted rates averaging 2.829%, while those with credit of 620 or below were shown rates of 4.457%.

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.

Today's Mortgage Refinance Rates

Money's survey also shows that the offered rate for a 30-year refinance for someone with a 740 credit score was 3.157% on Monday. Last December, the average mortgage rate (including fees) was 3.88%.

Refinance Rates for December 22, 2020
Loan type Average Rate
30-Year Fixed Loan 3.157%
15-Year Fixed Loan 2.586%
30-Year FHA Loan 3.393%
30-Year VA Loan 3.375%
30-Year Jumbo Loan 3.503%
Source: Money | Date: Dec. 21, 2020 | Rates assume a credit score of 740

A homeowner with a $200,000 mortgage balance currently paying 3.88% on a 30-year could potentially cut their monthly payment from about $940 to about $860 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

The share of homeowners participating in forbearance plans ticked up 1% to 5.49% for the week ending December 13, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The increase is largely due to a surge in payment deferral requests for Ginnie Mae loans, which reached their highest level since June 14.

After trending downward through most of the summer and early fall months, the share of loans in forbearance has stayed fairly stable since early November, with small increases and decreases on a weekly basis. The MBA estimates that there are 2.7 million homeowners still taking advantage of the programs.

"Additional restrictions on businesses and rising COVID-19 cases are causing a renewed increase in layoffs and other signs of slowing economic activity," said Mike Fratantoni, chief economist for the MBA. "These troubling trends will likely result in more homeowners seeking relief."

Forbearance plans were put in place in March as part of the CARES Act and allowed homeowners economically affected by the pandemic to request a pause in their monthly mortgage repayments from their lender. Initial forbearance is for a six-month period, with the option of requesting a six-month extension. The time frame for a homeowner to request forbearance was set to expire on December 31 but was extended until February 28.

Quote of the Week

More great housing content from Money.

Gurdeep Rihal, Century 21 HomeStar agent in Solon, Ohio, on determining if it's worth investing in a rental property or not:

“As a first-time investor, you’re really, really excited to jump in and get your hands dirty. But you got to look at what type of a property you’re buying and if it’s really worth it or not.”

From: Record Low Mortgage Rates AreDriving a Surge in New Landlords.

More from Money:

The 21 Smartest Money Moves to Make in 2021

7 Things to Do Now if You Want to Refinance Your Mortgage in 2021

9 Steps to Take Now That Will Prepare You for Buying a Home in 2021

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