Mortgage rates for fixed and adjustable rate mortgages have increased since last week, and even more since last month. However, they are still low compared to the rates of the last few years, so overall it’s a good day to lock in a low rate.
If you’re ready to buy or refinance, you’ll probably want a fixed rate mortgage rather than an adjustable rate mortgage. ARM rates are starting to be higher than fixed rates right now, and you could risk your rate going up even more in a few years. It’s safest to lock in an all-time low rate while you can.
Mortgage rates today
Today’s refinance rate
What is a mortgage rate?
A mortgage rate is the interest you pay on the money you borrow from a lender to buy or refinance your home. These are basically the fees you pay to borrow, expressed as a percentage. For example, you can take out a mortgage for $ 200,000 plus an interest rate of 2.75%.
There are two types of mortgage rates: fixed rates and adjustable rates.
A fixed rate mortgage lock in your rate for the duration of your mortgage. Even if the rates in the US market go up or down, your rate will stay the same. It’s a good deal right now, as rates are at historically low levels.
A adjustable rate mortgage keeps your rate the same for a predetermined amount of time, then changes it periodically. A 10/1 ARM locks in your rate for the first 10 years, then the rate fluctuates once a year. It’s a riskier approach these days because ARM rates start higher than fixed rates, and you risk your rate going up later.
How are mortgage rates determined?
Mortgage rates are determined by a combination of factors – some you can control and some you cannot.
The main external factor is economy. Interest rates tend to be higher when the US economy is booming and lower when it is struggling. The two main economic factors that affect mortgage rates are employment and inflation. When the number of jobs and inflation increase, mortgage rates tend to rise.
You can control your finances, But. The better your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and down payment, the lower your rate should be.
Finally, your mortgage rate depends on what type of mortgage you obtain. Government guaranteed mortgages (like FHA, VA, and USDA loans) charge the lowest rates, while jumbo mortgages charge the highest rates. You will also get a lower rate with a shorter mortgage term.
What credit score do you need for a mortgage?
Each type of mortgage loan has a different minimum credit score requirement. Here’s how it typically breaks down:
These are just the general rules of thumb, however. Every lender has the right to demand a higher or lower credit score. (Although the FHA minimums listed here are the lowest a lender allows.)
If your credit score is above the minimum required by a lender, you could get a better mortgage interest rate.
Find out more and get offers from several lenders »
Mortgage rates last week and last month
Mortgage rate trends
Average mortgage rates for government guaranteed loans tend to hold up, and this trend is clear over the past month as FHA and VA loan rates remain in the 2.70% to 2.85% range. The rates for conventional mortgages, i.e. fixed and variable rate loans, fluctuate a little more. Last week they increased, although most rates are still well below 4%.
Trends in refinancing rates
Mortgage and refinancing rates by state
Check out the latest rates for your state at the links below.
Caroline from the south
About the authors
Laura Grace Tarpley is a writer at Personal Finance Insider, covering mortgages, refinancing and loans. She is also a Certified Personal Finance Educator (CEPF). During her five years of personal finance coverage, she has written extensively on how to navigate loans.
Ryan Wangman is a Review Officer at Personal Finance Insider and reports on mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, bank reviews, and loans. During his past personal finance writing experience, he wrote on credit scores, financial literacy, and homeownership.