We may earn a fee if you click on the links below. Compensation does not determine ranking. Not all brands are included. Learn more.

Published: Aug 12, 2020 4 min read

The volume of mortgage loan applications increased last week as homeowners took advantage of record-low interest rates. Refinancing was particularly popular, with refi borrowing making up its largest share of total applications since May.

The total volume of loan applications increased during the week ending August 7, up nearly 7% from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinance loans were up 9% week-over-week and accounted for nearly 66% of all loan applications. Purchase loans were also up, increasing 2% from the previous week.

"Mortgage rates fell across the board last week," said Joel Kan, vice president of economic and industry forecasting for the MBA. "While this was still positive news for the purchase market, the gradual slowdown in the improvement in the job market and tight housing inventory remain a concern for the coming months, even as low mortgage rates continue to provide support."

Both purchase and refinance loan applications continued their streak of year-over-year gains as both logged increases of 22% and 47% respectively over the same period in 2019.

What are people paying for mortgages right now?

Borrowers with 700 credit scores were charged an average of 3.46% to secure a 30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage on Tuesday, according to Money's survey of over 8,000 mortgage lenders across the country. The average rate for a 30-year refinance was 4.356%.

Average Refinance Rates Today

A homeowner with excellent credit who qualifies for the lowest rates as reported by Freddie Mac can save a significant amount of money when refinancing. A year ago the average mortgage rate was 3.60%. A homeowner with a $250,000 mortgage balance paying 3.60% on a 30-year loan could cut their monthly payment from $1,137 to $1,038 by financing at today’s lower rates. (It is important to consider closing fees and that refinancing could reset the clock on your mortgage, meaning you will have to make payments longer.)

What should house hunters be watching this week?

On Thursday, Freddie Mac will release its Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending August 13. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its weekly unemployment claims report for the first week of August. The new report could provide insight into the state of the labor market towards the end of summer, as both new claims and the number of unemployed both feel last slightly last week.

What are today’s advertised rates?

Of course, mortgage rates vary widely by location and personal factors like the size of your down payment and your credit score. Here are today’s advertised mortgage rates at some of the mortgage industry’s largest lenders. (All rates are APRs. The rates you see may be different.)

JP Morgan Chase

Based in New York, JP Morgan Chase has nearly 5,000 U.S. branches.

Mortgage rates advertised for August 12:

30-year fixed: 2.956%

15-year-fixed: 2.613%

(Rates based on New York City zip code 10006.)

Wells Fargo

Based in San Francisco, Wells Fargo has more than 7,000 locations.

Mortgage rates advertised for August 12:

30-year fixed: 3.228%

15-year-fixed: 2.847%

5-year ARM: 2.904%


Quicken, a non-bank lender based in Detroit, is the nation’s largest mortgage lender by dollar origination volume.

Mortgage rates advertised for August 12:

30-year fixed: 3.373%

15-year-fixed: 2.961%

Bottom Line:

How to Get Preapproved for a Mortgage: A Step-by-Step Guide for Homebuyers

Everything You Need to Know About Mortgage Rates in 2020

Money Survey: 76% of Young Americans Say the Pandemic Has Impacted Their Living Situation