The Average 30-Year Rate Jumps Above 3.3%: May 12, 2021
Today's average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased for the second day in a row, jumping up to 3.323%. That's an increase of 0.071 percentage points from Tuesday. Rates for all other loan categories were mixed.
Even with the increase, mortgage rates are near historic lows. Anyone thinking about buying a home or refinancing their mortgage should be able to find affordable rates and lock in a low monthly payment.
- The latest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.323%.
- The latest rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 2.453%.
- The latest rate on a 5/1 jumbo ARM is 3.774%.
- The latest rate on a 7/1 conforming ARM is 4.04%.
- The latest rate on a 10/1 conforming ARM is 3.858%.
Current 30-year fixed mortgage rates
- The 30-year rate is 3.323%.
- That's a one-day increase of 0.071 percentage points.
- That's a one-month decrease of 0.157 percentage points.
The most common type of mortgage is a 30-year fixed-rate loan. Both the interest rate and monthly payments will remain unchanged for however long you keep the loan and you'll pay it off in 360 months unless you pay extra, refinance or sell.
The interest rate on a 30-year loan will be higher than the rate on a short-term loan like a 15-year but because the payback time is longer, your monthly payments will be lower. Despite the lower payments, you will pay more in overall interest compared to a 15-year loan since you'll be paying a higher rate for twice as long
Current 15-year fixed mortgage rates
- The 15-year rate is 2.453%.
- That's a one-day increase of 0.058 percentage points.
- That's a one-month decrease of 0.405 percentage points.
Another common loan option is a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. Just as with a 30-year loan, the interest rate and monthly payments won't change for as long as you have the loan. You'll pay it off in 180 months unless you make extra payments, refinance or sell the home.
A 15-year loan will have a lower interest rate when compared to a long-term loan like a 30-year loan. The monthly payments, however, will be higher because the payback period is shorter. On the bright side, you'll pay less in total interest because you'll be paying a lower rate for less time.
Current 5/1 jumbo adjustable-rate mortgage rates
- The 5/1 ARM rate is 3.774%.
- That's a one-day decrease of 0.146 percentage points.
- That's a one-month increase of 0.831 percentage points.
An adjustable-rate loan will actually have a fixed interest rate for a pre-determined number of years. Once that fixed-rate period is up the interest rate will change, usually on a yearly basis, according to market conditions. The monthly payments will be fixed at first but then change in response to any changes in the interest rate.
As an example, a 5/1 adjustable-rate loan will have a fixed rate during the first five years of the loan. After five years, the rate will adjust every year until the end of the loan term. ARMs will be paid off in 360 months unless you make extra payments, refinance or sell the home. Other common adjustable-rate loans include a 7/1 and a 10/1.
A 5/1 ARM will have one of the lowest initial interest rates on the market, making it an attractive choice if you don't plan to keep the home longer than five years. If you do stay longer, keep in mind that the rate could increase at some point in the future.
Current VA, FHA and jumbo loan rates
The average rates for FHA, VA and jumbo loans are:
- The rate on a 30-year FHA mortgage is 3.164%.
- The rate on a 30-year VA mortgage is 3.21%.
- The rate on a 30-year jumbo mortgage is 3.659%.
Current mortgage refinance rates
The average rates for 30-year loans, 15- year loans and 5/1 jumbo ARMs are:
- The refinance rate on a 30-year fixed-rate refinance is 3.424%.
- The refinance rate on a 15-year fixed-rate refinance is 2.65%.
- The refinance rate on a 5/1 jumbo ARM is 3.991%.
- The refinance rate on a 7/1 conforming ARM is 4.34%.
- The refinance rate on a 10/1 conforming ARM is 4.6%.
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 2020 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, which means 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 most recent business day rates are available for. Today, we are showing rates for Tuesday, May 11, 2021. 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.
More from Money:
- Best Mortgage Lenders of 2021
- Mortgage Calculator by Money
- How to Get the Lowest Mortgage Rate: A Step-by-Step Guide
- How to Get Preapproved for a Mortgage: A Step-by-Step Guide for Homebuyers
- Is Now a Good Time to Refinance My Mortgage? A Decision-Making Guide
- What Is an FHA Loan?
- You're Only Ready to Buy a House if You Can Answer 'Yes' to These 7 Questions
- Mortgage Rates Are on the Rise, and It's Messing With People's Home Buying Plans