What Is A Good Mortgage Rate?

Looking to purchase a mortgage? Get to know which mortgage rate is best for you.

The average interest rate for the most common 30-year fixed mortgage is 3.21%, according to data from S&P Global.

Mortgage interest rates are always fluctuating, and there are a lot of factors that can influence your interest rate. While some of them are personal factors you have power over, and some aren’t, it’s critical to know what your interest rate could look like as you start getting a home loan.

The article will explore mortgage rates in depth including what are good mortgage rates and how these rates are determined.

What Are Mortgage Rates?

Mortgage rates are the rate of interest on a mortgage the lender sets. Two of the major types of mortgage rates are as follows.

Fixed Rates

Fixed rates feature a set interest rate that does not vary throughout a loan. A fixed-rate shields you from unanticipated increases in payments if interest rates in the market rise. While the interest rate stays the same during the loan, the terms change based on the loan itself. Most

fixed-rate mortgages last on terms from 15, 20, or 30 years, with 30 being the most common. A 30-year mortgage offers the lowest payments per month, but generally, the cost will be higher due to interest payments. Shorter terms feature lower prices overall, though monthly payments are higher.

Variable Rates

Variable rates also referred to as adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), can vary. Usually, these rates start lower than the average fixed-rate and increase over time. The rate can sooner or later pass that of a common fixed rate, so at some point, you will pay more per month than you would with a fixed mortgage. Variable rates do have a fixed period where the interest percentage cannot rise, which can last between one month to 10 years. From there, the rate varies at a determined frequency to keep up with market trends.

That period between changes is adjustment frequency. ARMs will also come with a ceiling, which inhibits the rate from passing a certain point.

In general, the two primary mortgages above answer what mortgage rates are. They act as an

umbrella for a range of other loans depending on the type of mortgage you buy and the lender you work with to get it. The mortgage rate a lender charges you will ascertain your monthly mortgage payments and the total cost of the mortgage. A reasonable mortgage rate is a low one you can afford to pay without breaking the bank, but there are some factors that lenders consider when deciding interest rates.

How Banks Regulate and Determine Mortgage Rates

Based on the type of loan you have, lenders regulate mortgage rates based on various factors. Some of these are unique to your history, while others are based on external factors. Among the external influences of how mortgage rates are decided are as follows.

Inflation: Prices slowly rise over time, and the value of a dollar falls with inflation. Lenders that offer ARMs must compensate for inflation to keep the original value of their loans’ interest rates. Anticipate your variable rate to rise over time as your lender examines inflation.

Economic growth: If economic growth is high with rising employment, income, and spending, the demand for mortgages increases. Since more individuals have more money to spend, they may spend that money on homes. Lenders only have so much available money to give, so a rise in mortgage demand implies an increase in mortgage rates. The opposite of this is also true. If the economy sees a decline, fewer people will purchase homes, and rates may go down.

The Federal Reserve: The reserve’s monetary policy doesn’t directly regulate mortgage rates. It does, nevertheless, determine the Federal Funds rate, which can have a similar impact as economic growth. When the Federal Reserve raises the money supply, mortgage rates go down, and vice versa.

The bond market: Because investment firms offer investment products with mortgage-backed securities (MBSs), they must promote buyers. To get more investors in MBSs, lenders must be certain these securities produce yields for buyers. That, in turn, has an impact on how much lenders charge for mortgage rates.

The housing market: It’s no shock the housing market has an impact on mortgage rates. When fewer houses get built or sold, mortgage rates can drop because of less demand for loans. Rates also go down as more individuals decide to rent rather than own.

With these external factors and ones from the individual borrower, a lender assesses the risk of a loan and adjusts the mortgage rate from there. If a lender thinks a loan is a high risk, the mortgage rate will be higher. A higher rate of interest guarantees that the lender gets the loan amount back before the homeowner can default — or fail to pay. To ascertain the risk, a lender assesses aspects of your financial history.

What Factors Determine My Mortgage Rate?

Lenders take into account several items when deciding your interest rate:

  • Credit score
  • Down payment
  • Property location
  • Loan amount/closing costs
  • Loan type
  • Loan term
  • Interest rate type

For starters, your credit score influences your mortgage rate because it’s a measure of how likely you are to repay the loan on time. The higher your score, the less risk you present so you’ll get lower rates.

Lenders also see your down payment amount. For instance, if you bring a 20 percent down payment to the table, you’re considered a less risky borrower and you’ll get a lower rate than someone who’s financing most of their home purchase, which puts more of a lender’s money on risk if you were to default. (That is also why lenders need you to pay private mortgage insurance with less than 20 percent down.)

The loan amount and closing costs also play a role in your mortgage rate. If you ask a lender to roll your closing costs and other borrowing fees into your loan, for instance, you’ll normally pay a higher interest rate than someone who pays those fees upfront. Borrowers may also pay higher rates for loans that are above or below the limits for conforming mortgages, based on the lender’s standards.

Rates also depend on the type of mortgage you select the loan term and the interest type. You’ll pay much lower interest rates for shorter-term loans than longer-term loans because you’re paying off the mortgage faster. Adjustable-rate mortgages come with lower initial rates than

their fixed-rate counterparts, but when the loan resets, rates can change with the market for the remainder of the loan term.

Mortgage Rates Chart

Getting a low mortgage rate today can save you thousands over the life of your loan. Compare your mortgage rate offers with national average trends.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage 2.92% 2.95%
15-year fixed-rate mortgage 2.39% 2.45%
30-year fixed-rate jumbo mortgage 2.95% 3.01%
5/1 ARM 3.01% 3.03%
5/1 jumbo ARM 2.79% 2.81%

What is the Best Credit Score to get a Mortgage?

An exceptional credit score of 760 or higher normally will help you be eligible for the most competitive rates offered by the mortgage lender. Nevertheless, you don’t require excellent credit to meet the criteria for a mortgage. Loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, have a minimum credit score requisite of 580.

Preferably, you need to work on your credit (if you have a lower score) to get the top loan offers possible. While you can get hold of a mortgage with poor or bad credit, your interest rate and terms may not be as advantageous.

What is the APR on a Mortgage?

The APR, or annual percentage rate, on a mortgage shows the interest rate as well as other borrowing costs, like broker fees, discount points, private mortgage insurance, and some closing costs. The APR is stated as a percentage and is typically a better indicator of your actual borrowing costs than current mortgage rates alone.

How do I get the Best Mortgage Rate?

To get hold of the best mortgage rate, explore around with various lenders. Preferably, you would like a rate that’s at least equal to, or better yet below, the current average rate for the loan product you’re interested in. Evaluating rates from three, four, or more lenders facilitate in making sure that you’re getting competitive offers on a new mortgage or a refinance. Inquire with large banks, credit unions, online lenders, regional banks, direct lenders, and a mortgage broker to look for a mortgage.

If lenders are aware that they have to compete for your business, they might be more motivated to write off certain fees or offer better terms. Furthermore, you want to be at ease with the mortgage procedure, and working with a reliable lender who is responsive and service-oriented will make the procedure go more efficiently.

You also want to compare loan fees, terms, and offerings. Bear in mind that current mortgage rates alter daily, even hourly. Rates move with market conditions and can differ by loan type and term. To ensure you are getting the correct current mortgage rates, make sure you’re comparing similar loan estimates dependent on the precise term and product.

What Is A Good Mortgage?

There is no such mortgage that is best for everyone. To decide which mortgage is good depends on your requirements and needs which varies from person to person Most mortgage companies offer a broad range of loan products so you can select the mortgage that is more suitable for you.

Your mortgage will most possibly fall into one of two groups: either government-backed or conventional loan. The difference is that government-backed mortgage programs lower risk for lenders and can make eligibility for mortgages easier for borrowers, including first-time homebuyers.

Government-backed programs include:

On the other hand, common types of conventional mortgages are:

  • Conventional 15-year fixed loans
  • Conventional 30-year fixed loans
  • Adjustable-rate mortgages
  • Home equity loans
  • Home equity lines of credit
  • First-time homebuyer programs

Refinancing or jumbo loans can be either government-backed or conventional.

Government-Backed Mortgages

FHA loans: The Federal Housing Administration insures FHA mortgages, which lets you be eligible with a lower credit score and a smaller down payment than on a conventional loan. You could put as little as 3.5% down.

VA loans: The VA offers a loan guarantee to assist active-duty service members, veterans and their surviving spouses qualify for mortgages. Buyers can access zero down payment VA loans, and lenders may charge a lower interest rate for these compared with conventional loans.

USDA loans: The USDA’s Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program urges people to buy homes in rural areas. Borrowers in these areas can more easily meet the criteria for these loans and at lower interest rates compared with conventional loans because the USDA guarantees the loans.

Conventional Mortgages

Conventional mortgages aren’t federally guaranteed and are available from private lenders.

These loans can be tougher to be eligible for because they don’t have a guarantee if you default, but they also don’t have rules restricting who can apply.

A conventional loan is either conforming or non-conforming.

Conforming loans:

  • Meet or fall below the county loan limits set annually by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates U.S. mortgage lenders, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac
  • Adhere to underwriting rules set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Conventional mortgage lenders, such as banks or credit unions, normally require you to make

a down payment of 5% to 20% of a home’s purchase price. Some offer loans, especially

first-time homebuyer programs, with down payments as low as 3%. But anytime you put down less than 20%, your lender will expect you to buy private

mortgage insurance.

Which Mortgage Term Is Best?

The best mortgage term is based on how many houses you want to purchase and how fast you want to pay them off. Most homebuyers select a loan term – the duration of your mortgage, or how long you are scheduled to make payments – of either 15 or 30 years.

Your loan term considerably impacts how much you pay each month. With a lengthier mortgage term, your monthly payments are smaller because you have more time to pay off the loan. But longer-term mortgage interest rates are generally higher than shorter-term rates, also the longer term will cost more in overall interest.

Suppose you’re trying to choose between a 15-year or 30-year term for a $200,000 loan at a 3.5% interest rate. The 15-year fixed loan means a monthly payment of about $1,400, and the 30-year fixed loan cuts about $500 off that total. But you’ll pay about $57,000 in total interest with the 15-year loan and more than twice that amount if you select the 30-year mortgage.

As this example demonstrates, doing a little math can tell which term is more suitable for your budget. Owning your home “free and clear” doesn’t help if you don’t have the cash to make ends meet, called house-rich and cash-poor.

Which Lenders Offer the Lowest Mortgage Rates?

The reality is no mortgage lender has an obvious edge when it comes to mortgage rates. Each has its own particular methods for determining which rates to charge which borrowers, so the lender with the best rate for one person might not have the best offer for another. It really is based on individual conditions.

Therefore it’s so crucial to explore a variety of lenders and see what they can offer you. Applying tools, such as rate comparison tools, can assist you to compare mortgage rates for your specific situation and give you a good sense of what rates you may be eligible for. You can also get ahead by examining your credit score prior to applying for a mortgage, to better comprehend your financial standing.

How Can You Compare the Best Mortgage Lenders?

When there are so many mortgage loans to select from, how can you best compare them? After you’ve prequalified with a few mortgage lenders, you will narrow down your options by seeing how they pile up.

You can assess mortgage companies based on four main factors:

Interest Rates

Interest can change by lender and by-product, so when you explore around and compare mortgage rates, you could get a better deal. Picking a lender that can spare you even a few tenths of a percentage point could turn to hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

Closing Costs

When you factor in closing costs, including application, appraisal, and loan origination fees, the lender with the lowest rate may not present the best overall mortgage costs. Evaluate costs between lenders, using the APR to figure out how much you would owe per year for a loan when you factor in all costs.

Product Offerings

Your lender may offer several kinds of loans, such as 30-year fixed loans, FHA, USDA or VA loans, jumbo loans, and first-time homebuyer programs. Go for a lender with choices that are best for you.

Make sure the lender provides products in your state. National mortgage companies may offer

mortgage loans in all 50 states, but regional mortgage lenders can be more restricted.

Customer Service Reviews

Make use of customer service response to study lender performance. Lenders should not only offer great loan rates but also provide good customer service.

What Are the Best Mortgage Lenders of 2020?

 Navy Federal Credit Union 0% Not disclosed
 Flagstar Bank Not disclosed 600
 Veterans United Home Loans 0% 660
 Carrington Mortgage Services 3% 500
 Guild Mortgage 3% 600
 New American Funding 3% 500
 Alliant Credit Union 0% 620
 Caliber Home Loans 3% 580
Chase 3% 620
 PNC Bank 3% Not disclosed

Mortgage Calculator

The Mortgage Calculator can assist you better understand what your payments may appear like when you borrow to purchase a home. With a few important details, the tool instantly gives you an estimated monthly payment amount. You can make use of it to test various payment scenarios based on your amortization period, payment frequency, or mortgage amount. Once you get to know your estimated mortgage payment, you’ll be better able to compare home-buying options.

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett

Tony Benett makes his living in the insurance industry by teaching and consulting. He is also recognized by the legal profession as an expert on insurance coverages. His insurance experience includes having worked at the company level, owned an independent general agency and having worked for an insurance association. He has received various certificates over the past few years and helps his clients and readers by giving them a realistic outlook on what they can expect to achieve within their set targets. At Insurance Noon, he is known for his in-depth analysis and attention to details with accuracy. He has been published as one of the most referred agents by his peers in the insurance community. Tony loves the outdoors and most sport events. His passion other than providing excellent advice is playing golf.

Insurance Noon is the world's leading source of insurance related content on the web, focusing on industry news, buying guides, reviews, and much more.