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By Leslie Cook
Updated: December 30, 2020 9:28 AM ET
Money; Getty Images

New data shows home price growth hit a new record during the month of October as home buyers sought larger homes in suburban areas.

Meanwhile, mortgage rates slid back down.

Today’s Mortgage Rates

The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage was 3.065% on Tuesday. On Monday, the average rate was 3.114%.

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 a 700 credit score — roughly the national average FICO score — would have been offered.

Mortgage Rates for December 30, 2020
Loan type Average Rate
30-Year Fixed Loan 3.065%
15-Year Fixed Loan 2.279%
30-Year FHA Loan 3.072%
30-Year VA Loan 3.182%
30-Year Jumbo Loan 3.562%
Source: Money | Date: Dec. 29, 2020 | Rates assume a credit score of 700

Freddie Mac’s widely quoted Primary Mortgage Market Survey put rates at 2.66% with 0.7 points paid for the week ending December 24. It is the 16th new record set this year. The mortgage purchaser’s weekly survey reflects borrowers who put 20% down on conforming loans and have excellent credit.

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How do I get the best mortgage rates?

Mortgage rates vary from state to state. On Tuesday, borrowers in Illinois were quoted the lowest mortgage rates — at 2.968%. People looking for mortgages in Nevada saw the highest average rate at 3.206%.

Nationwide, borrowers with the highest credit scores, 740 and above, were quoted rates averaging 2.841%, while those with credit of 620 or below were shown rates of 4.499%.

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 3.177% on Tuesday. Last December, the average mortgage rate (including fees) was 3.88%.

Refinance Rates for December 30, 2020
Loan type Average Rate
30-Year Fixed Loan 3.177%
15-Year Fixed Loan 2.584%
30-Year FHA Loan 3.415%
30-Year VA Loan 3.313%
30-Year Jumbo Loan 3.507%
Source: Money | Date: Dec. 29, 2020 | Rates assume a credit score of 740

What else is happening in the housing market today?

Nationwide, homes sold for 8.4% more in October 2020 than October 2019. That’s the largest year-over-year increase on record for the CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which was released Tuesday. Prices were also up 1.4% from September, the largest one-month increase since March of 2014.

“Despite the tumultuous economic year, home prices soared in 2020 and are about 25% higher than the prior peak reached in the summer of 2006,” said Selma Hepp, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic.

While the COVID-19 pandemic initially led to price deceleration in May and June, since the trend has been for month-over-month acceleration. The fast pace of price growth is due in large part to record-low interest rates creating high buyer demand. At the same time, inventory has been at record low supply levels. The combination of all these factors has helped home prices reach record highs.

“Since June, our monthly readings have shown accelerating growth in home prices, and October’s results emphatically emphasize that trend,” said Craig J. Lazzara, managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices. He went on to note that thanks to the availability of remote work and the implementation of social distancing, many home buyers are opting to move from denser urban areas to the more wide-open spaces of the suburbs.

All 19 cities for which data was available experienced price growth, with Phoenix leading the pack with a 12.7% increase. It’s the 17th month in a row that Phoenix has had the highest year-over-year growth, followed by Seattle and San Diego.

Moving forward, Hepp anticipates home prices will continue to accelerate throughout the upcoming year thanks to a number of factors, including the distribution of coronavirus vaccines and a new round of stimulus measures.

“Taken together, recent stimulus actions are likely to help housing market demand and ensure continued home price growth,” she said.

Mortgage Tip of the Week

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

Mike Tassone, co-founder and COO of mortgage marketplace Own Up, on deciding whether to refinance or not:

For more read: 7 Things To Do Now if You Want to Refinance Your Mortgage in 2021.

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

2021 Real Estate Predictions: How Vaccines, President Biden and More Could Shape Housing Trends