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Published: Feb 03, 2021 6 min read
Money

The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.102% — up from 3.086%.

Getting your financial house in order is a critical part of preparing to buy a home. According to a new survey, recent and prospective homebuyers found they were able to afford more than they thought thanks to record-low mortgage rates.

Today’s Mortgage Rates: 30-Year Fixed Loans, 15-Year Fixed Loans, and More

Mortgage Rate Chart
Loan type Average Rate
30-Year Fixed Loan 3.102%
15-Year Fixed Loan 2.339%
30-Year FHA Loan 2.878%
30-Year VA Loan 2.924%
30-Year Jumbo Loan 3.57%
Source: Money | Date: Feb. 2, 2021 | Rates assume a credit score of 700

Money's daily mortgage rates show the average rate offered by over 8,000 lenders across the United States the previous business day. The rates reflect what a typical borrower with a 700 credit score might expect to pay for a home loan right now. These rates were offered to people putting 20% down and include discount points.

Our daily rates are generally higher than the weekly benchmark rate published by Freddie Mac, which are for buyers with the highest credit scores.

Money's daily mortgage data also shows that borrowers with the highest credit scores — 740 and above — were offered a rate of 2.903% on average. People will lower credit scores — 620 or below — were shown rates of 3.968%.

How do I get the lowest mortgage rate?

You may be able to negotiate a better mortgage rate if you shop around or if you have other accounts with the lender. (To get started, take a look at Money's picks for the best mortgage lenders.) Lately, some lenders have been hiking up advertised rates to keep demand in check, so you may be offered a lower rate if you reach out directly.

Mortgage rates vary also from state-to-state. On Tuesday, borrowers in Illinois were quoted the lowest mortgage rates — at 3.033%. People looking for mortgages in Nevada saw the highest average rate at 3.144%.

Today's Refinance Rates

Today's survey also shows that the offered rate for a 30-year refinance for someone with a 740 credit score was 3.189% on Tuesday. In February 2020, the average mortgage rate (including fees) was around 3.8%.

Mortgage Refinance Rate Chart
Loan type Average Rate
30-Year Fixed Loan 3.189%
15-Year Fixed Loan 2.596%
30-Year FHA Loan 3.315%
30-Year VA Loan 3.379%
30-Year Jumbo Loan 3.517%
Source: Money | Date: Feb. 2, 2021 | Rates assume a credit score of 740

What else is happening in the housing market today

More than two-thirds of recent and prospective home buyers were surprised by how much they could actually afford once they started their home search, according to a recent survey by Realtor.com.

For some it was a positive surprise: 47% of those surveyed found that they were able to afford more than they thought. Meanwhile 21% found they were able to afford less.

"You have to know what you can afford before you head too far down the homebuying road,” said Lexie Holbert, home and lifestyle expert at Realtor.com. “Putting pen to paper and getting a real sense of your current monthly expenses and what you’re saving each month is a good place to start when thinking about your mortgage."

The record-low mortgage rates seen in 2020 helped many first-time homebuyers invest in larger homes while staying within their budget. While low rates made a home purchase more affordable for many, they also created a hyper-competitive market.

According to the survey, 49% of buyers and 39% of prospective buyers have been outbid for a home. About 20% of first-time buyers were outbid five times before finally being able to purchase a home.

Meanwhile, many of those who were successful in their home search found they had to make compromises on what they wanted. Twenty-one percent had to expand their search into less expensive areas, while another 20% found they had to increase their budget to get all the features they wanted in a home. Another 18% had to eliminate some features.

"Especially as a first timer, it’s really important to stick to your budget when searching online so you don’t fall in love with something you can’t afford," added Holbert.

Quote of the Week

More great housing content from Money.

Lisa Rice, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, on the use of "love letters" when purchasing a home:

From: The Pros and Cons of Writing a Love Letter to a Home Seller.

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You're Only Ready to Buy a House if You Can Answer 'Yes' to These 7 Questions

YouTube's Favorite Mortgage Strategy Has Millions of Fans. Here's How It Actually Works

The Pros and Cons of Writing a Love Letter to a Home Seller

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