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Mortgage and refinance rates have dropped across the board since last week, with all mortgage rates decreasing by at least four basis points. In general, rates are at significant lows.
You might want to go after a fixed-rate mortgage if you’re aiming to buy a home or to refinance, as you’ll start at a lower interest rate than you would with an adjustable-rate mortgage. Your rate might also go up later with an ARM.
Rates from Money.com
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Since last Wednesday, mortgage rates have fallen, with 10/1 ARM rates decreasing by 52 basis points. Rates for fixed-rate mortgages are up from this point last month.
We’re displaying the average rates nationwide for conventional mortgages, which might be what you think of as “normal mortgages.” You might qualify for an improved rate with a government-backed mortgage through the FHA, VA, or USDA.
Rates from Money.com
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All refinance rates have gone down since last Wednesday, with ARM rates falling by at least 24 basis points. You can lock in a rate below 3% on a 15-year fixed mortgage today.
Rates are still at striking lows overall. Low rates often signal a floundering economy. As the US continues to bear the brunt of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, rates will likely remain low.
Since last Wednesday, rates have ticked down. They remain at striking lows, and you may want to secure a low mortgage rate while you can.
You may not have to rush if you aren’t prepared to buy or refinance yet, though. Rates will probably stay low for months. You have the opportunity to better your financial situation and get an improved interest rate. Think about taking the following steps:
- Boost your credit score by making payments on all your bills on time and paying down debts where possible.
- Put down more for a down payment. The smallest amount of money needed for your down payment will depend on which type of mortgage you’re after. The more you can shell out for your down payment, the more likely your lender will give you an improved interest 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. Many lenders want to see a DTI ratio of 36% or less. To better your ratio, pay down debts or look for ways to boost your income.
- Go for a government-backed mortgage. If you’re eligible, you might think about a USDA loan (designed for low-to-moderate-income borrowers buying in a rural area), a VA loan (for military members and veterans), or an FHA loan (not designated for any particular group). You can often get a better interest rate with a government-backed mortgage than with a conventional mortgage. As a bonus, you don’t need a down payment for USDA or VA loans.
Provided you are financially stable, today may be a good day to secure a low rate.
With a 15-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay down your loan over a decade and a half, and your interest rate will remain the same the entire time.
You’ll fork over more per month with a 15-year term than with a longer term because you’re paying down the same mortgage principal over fewer years.
However, a 15-year fixed mortgage will cost less overall than a 30-year fixed mortgage. You’ll pay off the mortgage in half the time, and you’ll obtain a lower interest rate to boot.
If you get a 30-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay a locked-in interest rate over your 30-year loan term.
The total amount you pay in interest will be higher with a 30-year fixed mortgage than a 15-year fixed mortgage because you’re paying a higher interest rate for an extended period.
On the bright side, you’ll cough up smaller monthly payments with a 30-year term than a 15-year term because you’re splitting up your payments over more years.
With an adjustable-rate mortgage, you’ll set your rate for a pre-determined period. Then, your rate will change systematically. A 7/1 ARM keeps your rate the same for seven years, then your lender will alter your rate once per year.
Now, ARM rates are at historic lows, but you still may prefer a fixed-rate mortgage. You can dodge the hassle of a possible future rate increase with an ARM and lock in a low rate for 15 or 30 years.
If you’re thinking about getting an ARM, discuss with your lender what your rates would be if you chose a fixed-rate versus an adjustable-rate mortgage.
You can get a low rate today. Just make sure you prepare yourself financially before you take action.
Mortgage and refinance rates by state
Check the latest rates in your state at the links below.
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.
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.