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By Leslie Cook
Updated: September 24, 2020 10:05 AM ET

Borrowers with 700 credit scores were quoted an average rate of 3.591% to secure a 30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage on Wednesday, according to Money’s daily survey of over 8,000 lenders across the United States. At this credit score, roughly the national average, the rate for a 30-year refinance was 4.425%. Our rates include discount points and are for borrowers putting 20% down.

30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage
3.591%
Rate of September 23, 2020
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Borrowers in Alaska were quoted the lowest mortgage rates on Wednesday—at 3.401%. Those in South Dakota saw the highest average rate at 3.767%. Nationwide, borrowers with the highest credit scores, 740 and above, were quoted rates averaging 3.13%, while those with credit of 640 or below were given rates of 4.768%—a 1.638 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 2.90% with 0.8 points paid for the week ending September 24. 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 3.771% on Wednesday. Last September, the average mortgage rate (including fees) was 3.922%.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage refi
3.771%
Rate of September 23, 2020

A homeowner with a $200,000 mortgage balance currently paying 3.922% on a 30-year loan could potentially cut their monthly payment from $946 to $929 by financing at today’s 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?

Nearly 400,000 fewer homes have been listed since the pandemic began, according to Realtor.com’s Weekly Housing Report for the week ending September 19. The lack of inventory coupled with still high demand for homes led to homes selling at a faster pace than last year, while home prices are increasing nearly twice as fast.

A total of 2.91 million properties have been put on the market since the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March compared to 3.30 million homes listed during the same time period last year. The lack of inventory combined with the continuing demand has led to homes selling 12 days faster on average than they did in 2019.

Median listing prices continue to grow at last week’s record pace of 11.1%, more than double last year’s pace of growth. It’s the 19th straight week of price acceleration, according to the report.

“Sellers are more reluctant to list their home given the uncertainty over the economy and the pandemic environment. Buyers, on the other hand, especially hungry first-timers, remain largely unfazed by the challenges, and are motivated by low mortgage rates and the fear of missing out on the right home,” said Javier Vivas, director of economic research for Realtor.com. “The majority of sellers are also buyers, so even as new listings hit the market, another buyer is also added. Adding to the inventory issues, thousands of previously vacant homes, such as second homes and rentals, have been reoccupied by their owners during the pandemic, effectively taking them off the market.”

Overall, total housing inventory is down 39% from last year. The fall months are typically when the housing market slows down, so relief in the form of new listings isn’t expected any time soon. However, this year has been anything but typical. Just as homebuyer demand has remained strong throughout traditionally slow sales seasons, it remains to be seen whether inventory, either in the form of new listings or new construction, can pick up and keep pace with demand.

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Mortgage Tip of the Week

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

Emanuel Santa-Donato, senior director of capital markets at Better.com, on starting the mortgage application process:

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Bottom line:

Mortgage Rates Vary From State to State. Here’s How to Get the Best Deal if You’re Moving

The Ultimate Guide to Ditching the City and Moving to the Suburbs

Procrastinators, It’s Not Too Late to Refinance Your Mortgage and Save Thousands

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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