A mortgage rate is the interest rate you pay on your mortgage loan. Mortgage rates change daily and are based on fluctuations in the market, but they're at historical lows currently. Depending on your loan type, your interest rate could be a fixed interest rate or an adjustable interest rate throughout your mortgage term.
If you're in the market for a mortgage, you may want to lock in your rate sooner rather than later as they do change every day and could potentially increase.
30 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates
In a 30 year fixed mortgage, your interest rate stays the same over the 30 year period while you repay the loan, assuming you continue to own the home during this period. Such mortgages tend to be some of the most popular type of home loan thanks to the stability and lower monthly payments they offer borrowers compared to 15 year fixed mortgages.
Take a look at our Mortgage Payment Calculator and learn how much home you can afford!
With a 30 year fixed mortgage, borrowers have the advantage of knowing the mortgage payments they make each month will never increase, allowing them to budget accordingly.
Each monthly payment goes towards paying off the interest and principal, to be paid in 30 years, thus these monthly mortgage payments are quite lower than a shorter-term loan. You will, however, end up paying considerably more in interest this way.
Qualifying for a 30 Year Fixed Mortgage
Those applying for a 30 year or 15 year fixed mortgage will first be required to be preapproved.
Why you should have a credit preapproval:
- Save time by only looking for properties that fall in your price range
- Build credibility with sellers by demonstrating you are serious about buying and are qualified to do so
- Get faster funding for your loan by accelerating the closing process
- Have a better home buying experience
"What do I need to refinance my mortgage with a fixed rate loan?"
- Proof of income
- Copy of your homeowner's insurance to demonstrate you have proper coverage
- Information regarding assets such as bank statements, 401K, and other investments
A 30 year mortgage could be very beneficial, but you need to consider how long you plan to stay in your new home. If what matters most to you is having lower mortgage payments each month, you should consider a 30 year fixed rate mortgage with the help of a loan officer.
15 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates
The interest rate is lower than a 30 year fixed mortgage. However, your monthly payment is higher than a 30 year mortgage because your repayment period is shorter.
Common reasons given for pursuing a 15 year fixed mortgage include wanting to pay off your home before having to begin paying tuition or wanting to retire early.
As with 30 year fixed rate mortgages, you are afforded the security of knowing your monthly mortgage payments will not increase regardless of what the market does, and thus you can better budget for said payments.
A 15 year fixed mortgage is often the first choice for first-time home buyers or those looking to refinance their existing mortgage.
Options for a 15 year fixed include:
- Purchase and refinance
- Government insured (FHA, VA, USDA)
- Conventional (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac)
Take a look at mortgage rates today and contact a loan officer to see if a 15 year fixed mortgage is right for you!
FHA 30 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates
With an FHA 30 year fixed mortgage, you can purchase a home with a lower down payment and flexible lending guidelines or streamline refinance with less documentation than a traditional loan.
FHA loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration, that is, the federal government insures them. Rather than issuing mortgages, the FHA offers insurance on mortgage payments so that more people can get the financing they need to buy a house or refinance. However, borrowers are required to pay Upfront Mortgage Insurance and monthly mortgage insurance when obtaining an FHA loan.
Do I qualify for an FHA loan?
- You do not need perfect credit
- Down payments are generally low
- 30% housing ratio
- Higher standards when it comes to home inspection
- You can obtain max financing with a 580 FICO credit score
- Gifts are permitted towards the down payment
- Some of the closing costs can be covered by sellers, builders, or lenders
For FHA 30 year fixed rate loans, there are low down payment options, gifts are allowed, Streamline Refinances are permitted and there are no penalties for repayment.
VA 30 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates
Since VA loans are guaranteed by the government, VA loans provide access to special benefits, including:
- No down payment required: For many service members, this is the most attractive feature of a VA loan. You can become a homeowner without having to save for a down payment.
- Lower interest rates: VA loans typically offer interest rates well below those of conventional loans.
- No monthly mortgage insurance premiums: MI payments can cost borrowers hundreds every month, an expense you'll never have with a VA loan.
- No prepayment penalty: With a VA loan, you can sell or refinance at any time without having to pay a penalty.
- Reduced funding fees: You may qualify for a reduced VA funding fee or exemption from VA funding fees for Veterans receiving service-connected disability compensation.
- Ability to finance the VA funding fee: The funding fee can be rolled into the entire loan amount.
- Less than perfect credit usually accepted: You don't need to have perfect credit to qualify for a VA loan.
- 100% cash out refinance, including the funding fee: Use your home's value and pull cash out to pay off debt, make repairs to your home, remodel, or spend any way you wish.
The Driving Force Behind Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates are a substantial element of the home buying process. While you likely know what a mortgage rate is if you have begun your home purchase journey, understanding what drives those rates may not be familiar territory.
The average interest rates affixed to home mortgages often fluctuate based on a few different factors. Understanding these can help you better comprehend when your chances increase for a lower interest rate.
The number of jobs available and the at which businesses and operations hire new employees impact the average interest rates seen across the nation. The Mortgage Reporter noted strong employment growth will likely also drive up interest rates while a weak job report will keep rates low.
The Stock Market
In 2008 the U.S. experienced a financial crisis. In conjunction with the recession, the housing market bubble burst forcing many homeowners to foreclose on their properties. The stock markets will impact both the Bond and real estate markets directly. Interest rates will reflect the condition of the stock market, according to The Truth About Mortgage.
The Federal Reserve
When money is pulled out of the monetary system, the Fed likely anticipates inflation and interest rates will increase as a result. If cash is added to the monetary system to help stimulate the economy, interest rates will likely decrease.
The average interest rate will also fluctuate in tandem with geopolitics and other events that occur globally, according to an infographic from Vantage Production.
Rates will increase if current tensions in the Middle East subside and China improves its gross domestic product. However, rates will fall if the volume of terrorist acts increase or the European economy worsens.
Mortgage rates will also decrease if natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, occur anywhere across the globe.
Scoring a Low Interest Rate
If you are looking to purchase a home, applying for a home mortgage now might be a good idea. Currently, interest rates are historically low, but as the employment situation and economy improve, you can expect those rates to spike soon.
While the aforementioned factors impact the average interest rate, you can control certain elements and help secure a lower interest rate for a home loan.
Credit Score Control
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, low interest rates go to individuals who provide more favorable borrower qualifications. For example, a credit score demonstrates your track record for paying back bills. This can help a lending organization determine whether you will be reliable when it comes to paying your monthly mortgage bills. Try improving your credit score as much as you can prior to sending in your home loan application.
While there are plenty of low down payment options available to qualified borrowers, providing a more substantial down payment can help you secure a lower interest rate and ultimately save you more money over the life of the loan.
Size of the Loan and Location of Home
The amount you ask for when applying for a home mortgage can impact the interest rate. A larger loan will usually also be accompanied by a higher interest rate. This is because paying back the loan will likely take longer and there is more at stake for the lending organization.
What is a Mortgage Rate?
A mortgage rate is the interest rate you pay on your mortgage loan. Mortgage rates change daily and are determined as a whole by fluctuations in the market but the interest rate you receive is a result of various factors including your credit score, loan-to-value ratio, and other factors.
Depending on your loan type, you can have a fixed interest rate or an adjustable rate over the life of your loan.
How is My Mortgage Interest Rate Determined?
Lenders determine your mortgage interest rate based on the type of loan you take out, your credit score, and the overall loan amount, as well as your down payment amount and the length of the loan.
- Loan Type: Government-backed loans are handled differently than conventional loans.
- Credit Scores: People with high credit scores generally receive lower interest rates. Although those with lower credit scores may still qualify, their mortgage terms may not be as favorable.
- Loan Amount: Your mortgage rate will be influenced by the total amount of money you need to borrow. Higher amounts tend to suggest higher interest rates.
- Down Payment Amount: A higher down payment can significantly lower your interest rate.
- Length of Loan: Long-term loans tend to bring lower monthly payments with higher interest rates, while short-term loans bring higher monthly payments and lower interest rates.
What is a Debt-to-income Ratio and Why is it Important?
Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio represents how much of your gross monthly pay goes to paying off debts. Lenders consider your DTI ratio along with other factors to determine whether you qualify for a loan and for what type of loan you qualify.
How Big of a Down Payment Do I Need?
Depending on what type of loan you borrow, you may not need to pay a down payment. Some government-backed loans for veterans and farmers may not require a down payment, while conventional loans or Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans typically require 3% or more.
To see all your options, visit our loan types page to see what kind of mortgage may be best for you.
What is the Difference Between Interest Rate and APR?
While interest rates show the percentage a lender may charge for a loan, it gives an incomplete look at total costs.
An annual percentage rate (APR) includes the interest rate as well as other fees, including origination fees, mortgage insurance, closing costs, mortgage points and more.
The APR gives borrowers greater insight into what they’re actually paying for their mortgage. For more on what you need to know, visit our Interest Rates vs Annual Percentage Rate page.
What are Mortgage Points and How Can They Help Me?
Mortgage points (or discount points) are a way for borrowers to buy a lower interest rate at closing.
If you have the means to do so, paying mortgage points help lower the overall costs of your loan, especially helpful for longer loans.
Should I Get an Adjustable Rate Mortgage or a Fixed Rate Loan?
While fixed rate loans have interest rates that stay the same over the life of the loan, an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) fluctuates depending on the market, but usually has a cap limiting fluctuation.
While both offer advantages, your circumstances can determine which might be right for you.
An adjustable rate mortgage:
- Can be a popular option for new homeowners as they offergreat upfront savings.
- Have an initial fixed interest period.
- Cap how much a loan can adjust so borrowers can try to plan accordingly.
Consider an ARM if you expect to make more money in the future, plan to move early in the life of your loan,or refinance before your loan adjusts.
There are many types of fixed-interest rate mortgages, including 30-Year and 15-Year mortgages. They offer a clear view of the future, as borrowers are able to more accurately account for costs over the life of the loan. For those who want greater stability when planning their monthly costs, fixed-interest mortgages are popular.
What Do I Need to Refinance My Mortgage with A Fixed Rate Loan?
When interest rates are low, you may benefit from refinancing to a fixed-rate mortgage. In order to do so, you will need a few things, including:
- Proof of income to process your application.
- Documentation proving you have proper coverage like homeowner’s insurance.
- Transparency regarding any assets you pay possess, such as 401K, your bank statements, or other investments.
There are many reasons why one would want to refinance, aside from lower monthly payments and lower interest rates. For more information, visit our mortgage refinance page.
Should I Get a 15-Year or a 30-Year Mortgage?
Both loan options provide many advantages to borrowers, but your circumstances and goals will determine which is right for you.
- 15-Year Mortgage: Tend to offer lower interest rates but require higher monthly payments. If you are trying to pay off your home as quickly as possible while saving on the total cost of your home, a 15-Year mortgage may be right for you.
- 30-Year Mortgage: Long loans have lower monthly payments but higher interest rates and can cost much more than a short-term loan. It can be good for you if you want more manageable monthly payments.
To have a better idea of whether a 15 year mortgage or a 30 year mortgage is right for you, visit our mortgage calculator.
Do I Need a Mortgage Prequalification or Preapproval?
Mortgage lenders can pre-qualify borrowers to help them know how much home they can afford based on a credit report and description of the borrower’s financial circumstances. It can help you focus your search for a new home.
A mortgage pre-approval takes a more intricate look at your finances, including your income, assets, credit, and debt, to determine whether you qualify for a mortgage and determine what you can afford. Mortgage pre-approval gives you a realistic look at your borrowing capabilities.
When considering buying a home, it is important to:
- Be preapproved to let sellers and real estate agents know they can trust you as a buyer and that you are serious about purchasing a home.
- Remember that even if you get preapproved for a mortgage, you will still have to apply for a mortgage once you have an offer accepted on the property you wish to buy.
After you are preapproved, avoid making common mistakes like applying for new credit, co-signing a loan, and disturbing your steady income. These changes will alter your preapproved status, potentially resulting in completely new terms for your actual mortgage.
Visit our mortgage preapproval page for more information.