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Lately, mortgage and refinance rates have been rising, although rates remain at historic lows overall.
If you want to get a mortgage or refinance your home loan, you may consider a fixed-rate mortgage, which will likely come with a lower rate than you can get right now for an adjustable-rate mortgage. You won’t have to worry about your rate increasing in the future with an ARM, and you can lock in a low rate for the full term of your mortgage.
Experts tell Insider that generally, for the reasons outlined above, fixed-rate mortgages may currently be a better deal for some borrowers, compared to adjustable-rate mortgages.
In general, rates are at all-time lows, which frequently signifies an economy in disarray. As the US continues to handle the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, rates will probably stay low.
Rates from Money.com
From this point last week, all mortgage rates have risen, although some only increased by a few basis points. Rates on ARMs have gone up the most dramatically, by dozens of basis points each.
We’re displaying the average rates nationwide for conventional mortgages, which might be what you think of “standard mortgages.” Government-backed mortgages through the FHA, VA, or USDA may give you a lower rate — provided you’re qualified.
Rates from Money.com
Refinance rates, both fixed and adjustable, are up from this point last Tuesday, as well as from this point last month — except for the rates for 7/1 ARMs, which have decreased slightly.
A majority of mortgage and refinance rates have gone up. At the same time, they are still at all-time lows, and you can still lock in a low mortgage rate now.
You might not need to hurry if you aren’t prepared to buy or refinance yet, though. Rates will probably stay relatively low for months, if not years. You have time to boost your finances and get an improved interest rate. Consider the following steps:
- Boost your credit score by making payments on all your bill payments on time. You could also pay down debts or let your credit age.
- Put down more for a down payment. The minimum amount you’ll need for your down payment will be contingent on the type of mortgage you want. The bigger your down payment, the more probable your lender will give you a better 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. To better your ratio, pay down debts or look for ways to raise your income.
- 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 (aimed at 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. Additionally, you aren’t required to make a down payment for USDA or VA loans.
You can secure a low rate today if your finances are in good shape, but you don’t need to rush to get a mortgage or refinance if you’re not prepared.
If you take out a 15-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay down your mortgage over a decade and a half, and your interest rate will be set the entire period.
A 15-year fixed mortgage will be less expensive than a longer term. You’ll pay off the mortgage in fewer years, and you’ll get a better interest rate as well.
Conversely, you’ll fork over higher monthly payments with a 15-year term than a 30-year term because you’re paying off the same loan principal in half the time.
With a 30-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay down your mortgage over three decades, and your interest rate won’t change for the whole loan term.
You’ll pay less per month with a 30-year fixed mortgage than a 15-year fixed mortgage because you’re dividing up your payments over 15 more years.
However, you’ll pony up more total interest with a 30-year term than a 15-year term because you’ll pay a higher interest rate for a longer time.
An adjustable-rate mortgage, often called an ARM, will set your rate for an agreed-upon amount of time and then it will alter periodically. A 10/1 ARM secures your rate for a decade. Then, your rate will increase or decrease once per year.
While ARM rates are now at striking lows, a fixed-rate mortgage might be the best deal. You can secure a low rate for 15 or 30 years without having to risk a potential future rate increase with an ARM.
If you’re thinking about getting an ARM, ask your lender what your rates would be if you chose a fixed-rate versus an adjustable-rate mortgage.
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.