Mortgage rates diverged today, but one key rate was down. The average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell, but the average rate on a 15-year fixed rose. The average rate on 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, the most popular type of variable rate mortgage, increased.
Mortgage rates are in a constant state of flux, but they remain much lower overall than they were before the Great Recession. If you’re in the market for a mortgage, it could be a great time to lock in a rate. Just make sure you’ve looked around for the best rate first.
Find the right mortgage rate for your specific criteria.
30-year fixed mortgages
The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage is 3.05 percent, down 2 basis points over the last week. Last month on the 11th, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was higher, at 3.21 percent.
At the current average rate, you’ll pay principal and interest of $424.31 for every $100,000 you borrow. That’s lower by $1.08 than it would have been last week.
You can use Bankrate’s mortgage rate calculator to figure out your monthly payments and find out how much you’ll save by adding extra payments. It will also help you calculate how much interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.
15-year fixed mortgages
The average 15-year fixed-mortgage rate is 2.56 percent, up 2 basis points over the last week.
Monthly payments on a 15-year fixed mortgage at that rate will cost around $670 per $100,000 borrowed. The bigger payment may be a little tougher to find room for in your monthly budget than a 30-year mortgage payment would, but it comes with some big advantages: You’ll save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan in total interest paid and build equity much faster.
The average rate on a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgageis 3.34 percent, rising 1 basis point over the last 7 days.
These types of loans are best for those who expect to sell or refinance before the first or second adjustment. Rates could be considerably higher when the loan first adjusts, and thereafter.
Monthly payments on a 5/1 ARM at 3.34 percent would cost about $440 for each $100,000 borrowed over the initial five years, but could climb hundreds of dollars higher afterward, depending on the loan’s terms.
Where rates are headed
To see where Bankrate’s panel of experts expect rates to go from here, check out our rate trends page.
Want to see where rates are currently? Lenders across the nation respond to our weekday mortgage rates survey to bring you the most current rates available. Here you can see the latest marketplace average rates for a wide variety of purchase loans:
Updated on September 11, 2020.
Rate lock advice and recommendations
A rate lock guarantees your interest rate for a specified period of time. Lenders often offer 30-day rate locks for a nominal fee or roll the price of the lock into your loan. Some lenders will lock rates for longer periods, sometimes for more than 60 days, but those locks can be expensive. In today’s volatile market, some lenders will lock an interest rate for only two weeks to avoid unnecessary risk.
The benefit of a rate lock is that if interest rates rise, you’re locked into the guaranteed rate. You may be able to find a lender that offers a floating rate lock. A floating rate lock lets you get a lower rate if interest rates decline before closing your loan. It could be worth the cost in a declining rate environment. Because there is no guarantee of where mortgage rates will head in the future, it may be smart to lock in a low rate instead of holding out on rates for potentially decline further.
It’s important to keep in mind: During the pandemic, all aspects of real estate and mortgage closings are taking much longer than usual. Expect the closing on a new mortgage to take at least 60 days, with refinancing taking at least a month.
Why mortgage rates change
Mortgage rates are influenced by a range of economic factors, from inflation to unemployment numbers. Typically, higher inflation means higher interest rates and vice versa. As inflation rises, the dollar loses value, which in turn drives off investors for mortgage-backed securities, causing the prices to fall and yields to climb. When yields climb, rates get more expensive for borrowers.
Generally speaking, when the economy is strong, more people buy homes. That drives demand for mortgages. Increased demand for mortgages can cause rates to increase. The opposite is also true; less demand can lead to lower rates.
What are current mortgage rates?
Mortgage rates have been volatile because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Generally, though, rates have been low. For a while, some lenders were increasing rates because they were struggling to deal with the demand. In general, however, rates are consistently below 4 percent and even dipping into the mid to low 3s. This is an especially good time for people with good to excellent credit to lock in a low rate for a purchase loan. However, lenders are also raising credit standards for borrowers and demanding higher down payments as they try to dampen their risks.
Methodology: The rates you see above are Bankrate.com Site Averages. These calculations are run after the close of the previous business day and include rates and/or yields we have collected that day for a specific banking product. Bankrate.com site averages tend to be volatile — they help consumers see the movement of rates day to day. The institutions included in the “Bankrate.com Site Average” tables will be different from one day to the next, depending on which institutions’ rates we gather on a particular day for presentation on the site.
To learn more about the different rate averages Bankrate publishes, see “Understanding Bankrate’s Rate Averages.”