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Mortgage and refinance rates are down since last Saturday. Fixed mortgage rates are much lower than adjustable rates today, so you may want a fixed-rate mortgage rather than an ARM.
Low rates typically signify a struggling economy, and the coronavirus has hurt the US economy.
Christian Wallace, Head of Real Estate Services at Better.com, told Insider that rates will probably stay low for a while in anticipation of a potential fourth wave of coronavirus. A fourth wave could cause more people to stay home for a while, which would hurt the economy.
If you aren’t in a rush to buy, don’t worry about rates rising anytime soon. But if you know you’ll want to buy soon, you may want to start the process of applying for preapproval and locking in a rate. According to a study by Redfin, over half of homes are selling in two weeks or less right now. So when you’re ready to buy, you’ll want to move fast.
Rates from Money.com
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You can probably get a 15-year fixed rate well under 3%, and a 30-year fixed rate under 4%. Adjustable rates are much higher than fixed rates right now.
We’re providing the national average rates for conventional mortgages, which might be what you think of “normal mortgages.” You could get a lower rate on a government-backed mortgage through the FHA, VA, or USDA.
Rates from Money.com
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Refinance rates are higher than mortgage rates, but they’re still low overall.
Mortgage and refinance rates are low, so it could be a good day to lock in a rate. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to rush, though.
Rates will probably stay low for a while. You may have time to improve your finances, which could result in a better interest rate. Consider the following steps:
- Increase your credit score by paying all your bills on time and paying down debts. You might request a copy of your credit report to check for any mistakes that could be dragging down your score.
- Save for a larger down payment. You may need between 0% and 20% for a down payment, depending on which type of mortgage you get. But if you can make a higher down payment, a lender might reward you with a lower rate.
- Lower your debt-to-income ratio. Your DTI ratio is the amount you pay toward debts each month, divided by your gross monthly income. The lower your DTI ratio, the better. Consider paying down debts more aggressively to get a better ratio.
- Pick a government-backed mortgage. If you’re eligible, you may want to get a USDA loan (for low-to-moderate-income borrowers buying in a rural area), a VA loan (for active military members and veterans), or an FHA loan (not designated for any particular group). These loans often come with lower interest rates than conventional mortgages. You also don’t have to make a down payment on USDA or VA loans.
You can lock in a low rate today if your finances are strong, but you don’t need to hurry to get a mortgage or refinance if you don’t feel ready.
Mortgage and refinance rate trends
Mortgage rate trends
Mortgage rates are down since last Saturday. All rates except 7/1 ARM rates have increased since this time last month.
Refinance rate trends
Since last Saturday, refinance rates have decreased. Rates have gone up since this time last month, with the exception of 7/1 ARM rates.
If you get a 15-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay the same interest rate over the 15 years it will take you to pay down your loan.
A 15-year term will cost less than a 30-year term. You’ll get a lower interest rate and you’ll pay off your mortgage in half the time.
However, you’ll dole out higher monthly payments with a 15-year fixed mortgage than a 30-year fixed mortgage because you’re paying off the same mortgage principal over fewer years.
With a 30-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay down your mortgage over three decades, and you’ll pay a locked-in interest rate for the whole term. A 30-year term comes with a higher interest rate than a shorter term.
A 30-year fixed mortgage will be more expensive than a 15-year fixed mortgage, as you’re paying a higher interest rate for an extended period — so your total interest paid will be higher.
However, you’ll pay less per month with a 30-year term than with a shorter term, though, because you’re dividing up your payments over more years.
With an adjustable-rate mortgage, your rate is locked in for the first few years. Then the rate changes periodically.
A 7/1 ARM keeps your rate the same for the first seven years, then changes it annually. A 10/1 ARM keeps your rate the same for the first decade, then alters it once per year. Some lenders offer ARMs that change your rate more or less often, like six months or five years.
ARM rates are low right now, but fixed-rate mortgages are still the better deal. Fixed rates are starting lower than ARM rates, and because rates are at all-time lows, you may want to lock in a good rate rather than risk an increase later.
If you’re considering an ARM, you should still ask your lender about what your individual rates would be if you chose a fixed-rate versus adjustable-rate mortgage.
Mortgage and refinance rates by state
Check the latest rates in your state at the links below.
Laura Grace Tarpley is an editor at Personal Finance Insider, covering mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. She is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF). Over her four years of covering personal finance, she has written extensively about ways to save, invest, and navigate loans.
Ryan Wangman is a reviews fellow at Personal Finance Insider reporting on mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. In his past experience writing about personal finance, he has written about credit scores, financial literacy, and homeownership.