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Originally Published: Sep 25, 2020
Originally Published: Sep 25, 2020 Last Updated: Sep 25, 2020 5 min read

Borrowers with 700 credit scores were quoted an average rate of 3.578% to secure a 30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage on Thursday, 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 4.494%. Our rates include discount points and are for borrowers putting 20% down.

30-year fixed-rate purchase mortgage
Rate of September 24, 2020

Borrowers in Illinois were quoted the lowest mortgage rates on Thursday—at 3.402%. Those in Texas saw the highest average rate at 3.83%. Nationwide, borrowers with the highest credit scores, 740 and above, were quoted rates averaging 3.123%, while those with credit of 640 or below were given rates of 4.78%—a 1.657 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 3.81% on Thursday. Last September, the average mortgage rate (including fees) was 3.922%.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage refi
Rate of September 24, 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 $933 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).

What else is happening in the housing market right now?

New residential sales in August increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.011 million units, according to a report released by the U.S. Census in conjunction with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This represents a 4.8% increase over July's revised rate of 965,000 units and a 43.2% increase over the August 2019 estimate of 706,000 units.

The Census report also indicated that the median sales price of newly built homes sold in August was $312,800, with the average sales prices coming in at $369,000. High demand and low housing supply are expected to continue pushing home prices higher throughout the rest of the year.

"Surging sales are consistent with record builder confidence levels stemming from higher buyer traffic, historically low interest rates and a shift in demand for lower density markets," said Chuck Fowke, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders in reaction to the report. "However, higher lumber costs and limited building material availability in some markets signify we could see higher prices down the road."

According to the NAHB, new home sales are now up 15% year-to-date, reaching the fastest pace of sales since September of 2006, with all four regions seeing double-digit gains. Meanwhile, the annually adjusted estimate of new homes for sale at the end of August was 282,000 units, a supply of 3.3 months at the current pace of sales. Of these units, only 54,000 units are completed and ready to be occupied. There were 40% fewer new homes available for sale this August than last.

Bottom line:

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