Sometimes change is good. That was certainly the case for home buyers today as mortgage rates continued their somewhat surprising declines. Many pundits expected a slow but steady increase following the Federal Reserve's recent 0.25% bump in its benchmark rate. However, the only change in traditional mortgage rates today was an across-the-board easing.

Most rates, including adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), inched down by 0.05 percentage points or more compared to yesterday. There's no telling how long this downward trend will continue, but for now at least, home buyers are enjoying the mortgage rate wars banks seem to be engaged in.

Here are today's average mortgage rates across the U.S., along with where they stood a month ago.

Mortgage Type

Mortgage Rates Today

Mortgage Rates 1 month ago

30-year fixed jumbo

4.50%

4.45%

30-year fixed

3.98%

3.97%

15-year fixed

3.16%

3.13%

30-year fixed refi

3.99%

3.97%

15-year fixed refi

3.18%

3.19%

5/1 ARM

3.16%

3.14%

5/1 ARM refi

3.24%

3.29%

Data source: Bloomberg. Rates are national averages and may include points.

Not only are today's mortgage rates attractive, but compared to the rates of 15 years ago they seem like an absolute steal. For some perspective, here are a few of the rates from March 2002.

Mortgage Type

Mortgage Rates (National Average) March, 2002

30-year fixed

7.01%

15-year fixed

6.52%

1-year ARM

5.06%

Data source: Freddie Mac. Rates do not include points.

For homeowners in search of a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or equity loan, both rates bucked the easing trend, with HELOC rates inching up while equity loan rates remained stable. Today's HELOC and equity loan rates are 5.12% and 5.23%, respectively. Both rates remain below last month's rate of 5.26% each.

 

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