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Published: Feb 25, 2021 11 min read
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Mortgage rates continued their upward swing today, with rates for all types of loans higher than yesterday. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate loan climbed above 3.4% for the first time since November 6. Rates for refinance loans are also higher today.

Even with interest rates trending higher, mortgage rates are still very favorable for homebuyers. Many homeowners could also save on their monthly payments by refinancing their mortgage.

  • The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.414% today.
  • The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 2.547% today.
  • The average rate on a 5/1 jumbo ARM is 2.935% today.
  • The average rate on a 7/1 conforming ARM is 4.261% today.
  • The average rate on a 10/1 conforming ARM is 4.108% today.

Current 30-year fixed mortgage rates

  • Today's 30-year rate is 3.414%.
  • That's a one-day increase of 0.031 percentage points.
  • That's a one-month increase of 0.385 percentage points.

Fixed-rate loans will have a consistent interest rate during the full term of the loan. This means that your monthly payment will not change for the entire loan term unless you refinance the mortgage.

The interest rate on a 30-year loan is usually higher than the interest rate on a shorter-term loan, such as a 15-year. Since you're paying a higher rate and for a longer time, the longer the term the more you'll pay more in overall interest. Your monthly payments, however, will be lower because you're dividing the loan across more months.

Current 15-year fixed mortgage rate

  • Today's 15-year rate is 2.547%.
  • That's a one-day increase of 0.011 percentage points.
  • That's a one-month increase of 0.268percentage points.

As with any other fixed-rate loan, the interest rate on a 15-year mortgage will not change throughout the term of the loan. Your monthly payment will also remain unchanged for the entire 15-year period. You will pay off the loan in half the time of a 30-year mortgage.

Interest rates on 15-year loans are typically lower than on a 30-year loan. This, plus the shorter term, means that you will pay less in overall interest on a 15-year loan compared to a 30-year loan. However, because you're paying the loan off in a half the time, the monthly payments on a 15-year mortgage will be higher than the payments on a longer-term loan.

Current 5/1 jumbo adjustable-rate mortgage rates

  • Today's 5/1 ARM rate is 2.942%.
  • That's a one-day decrease of 0.003 percentage points.
  • That's a one-month increase of 0.149 percentage points.

Adjustable-rate mortgages will have an initial period during which the interest rate will remain fixed. After the end of that period, the interest will reset every year and could either increase or decrease depending on market conditions. Your monthly payment would also increase or decrease according to any change in the interest rate.

With a 5/1 ARM, your interest rate will be fixed during the first five-years of the loan, then reset annually. Other common adjustable-rate terms are the 7/1 and the 10/1.

ARMs often have the lowest interest rates of all loans, at least during the fixed-rate period, making them attractive to some buyers. However, with mortgage rates dropping to historic lows as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, borrowers with excellent credit can sometimes find lower rates on the 30-year fixed-rate loan.

Current VA, FHA, and jumbo loan rates

The average rates for FHA, VA and jumbo loans are:

  • The latest rate on a 30-year FHA mortgage is 3.451%.
  • The latest rate on a 30-year VA mortgage is 3.442%.
  • The latest rate on a 30-year jumbo mortgage is 3.577%.

Current mortgage refinance rates

The average rates for 30-year loans, 15- year loans and 5/1 jumbo ARMs are:

  • The latest refinance rate on a 30-year fixed-rate refinance is 3.853%.
  • The latest refinance rate on a 15-year fixed-rate refinance is 2.891%.
  • The latest refinance rate on a 5/1 jumbo ARM is 3.27%.
  • The latest refinance rate on a 7/1 conforming ARM is 4.627%.
  • The latest refinance rate on a 10/1 conforming ARM is 4.736%.

Where are mortgage rates heading this year?

Mortgage rates sunk through 2020. Millions of homeowners responded to low mortgage rates by refinancing existing loans and taking out new ones. Many people bought homes they may not have been able to afford if rates were higher.

In January 2021, rates briefly dropped to the lowest levels on record, but trended higher through the month and into February.

Looking ahead, experts believe interest rates will rise more in 2021, but modestly. Factors that could influence rates include how quickly the COVID-19 vaccines are distributed and when lawmakers can agree on another economic relief package. More vaccinations and stimulus from the government could lead to improved economic conditions, which would boost rates.

While mortgage rates are likely to rise this year, experts say the increase won’t happen overnight and it won’t be a dramatic jump. Rates should stay near historically low levels through the first half of the year, rising slightly later in the year. Even with rising rates, it will still be a favorable time to finance a new home or refinance.

Factors that influence mortgage rates include:

  • The Federal Reserve. The Fed took swift action when the pandemic hit the United States in March of 2020. The Fed announced plans to keep money moving through the economy by dropping the short-term Federal Fund interest rate to between 0% and 0.25%, which is as low as they go. The central bank also pledged to buy mortgage-backed securities and treasuries, propping up the housing finance market. The Fed has reaffirmed its commitment to these policies for the foreseeable future multiple times, most recently at a late January policy meeting.
  • The 10-year Treasury note. Mortgage rates move in lockstep with the yields on the government’s 10-year Treasury note. Yields dropped below 1% for the first time in March, and have been slowly rising since then. Currently, yields have been hovering above 1% since the beginning of the year, pushing interest rates slightly higher. On average, there is typically a 1.8 point “spread” between Treasury yields and benchmark mortgage rates.
  • The broader economy. Unemployment rates and change in gross domestic product are important indicators of the overall health of the economy. When employment and GDP growth are low, it means the economy is weak, which can push interest rates down. Thanks to the pandemic, unemployment levels reached all-time highs early last year and have not yet recovered. GDP also took a hit, and while it has bounced back somewhat, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Tips for getting the lowest mortgage rate possible

There is no universal mortgage rate that all borrowers receive. Qualifying for the lowest mortgage rates takes a little bit of work and will depend on both personal financial factors and market conditions.

Check your credit score and credit report. Errors or other red flags that may be dragging your credit score down. Borrowers with the highest credit scores are the ones who will get the best rates, so checking your credit report before you start the house-hunting process is key. Taking steps to fix errors will help you raise your score. If you have high credit card balances, paying them down can also provide a quick boost.

Save up money for a sizeable down payment. This will lower your loan-to-value ratio, or how much of the home’s price the lender has to finance. A lower LTV usually translates to a lower mortgage rate. Lenders also like to see money that has been saved in an account for at least 60 days. It tells the lender you have the money to finance the home purchase.

Shop around for the best rate. Don’t settle for the first interest rate that a lender offers you. Check with at least three different lenders to see who offers the lowest interest. Also consider different types of lenders, such as credit unions and online lenders in addition to traditional banks.

Also take time to find out about different loan types. While the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the most common type of mortgage, consider a shorter-term loan like a 15-year loan or an adjustable-rate mortgage. These types of loans often come with a lower rate than a conventional 30-year mortgage. Compare the costs of all to see which one best fits your needs and financial situation. Government loans — such as those backed by the Federal Housing Authority, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Agriculture — can be more affordable options for those who qualify.

Finally, lock in your rate. Locking your rate once you’ve found the right rate, loan product, and lender will help guarantee your mortgage rate won’t increase before you close on the loan.

Our mortgage rate methodology

Money’s daily mortgage rates show the average rate offered by over 8,000 lenders across the United States the previous business day. Today, we are showing rates for Wednesday, February 24. Our 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.

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