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Current Mortgage Rates -- November 16, 2020: Rates Tick Up but Remain Near Record Lows

By Christy Bieber - Nov 16, 2020 at 8:15AM

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With interest rates on fixed-rate mortgages still near record lows even as the 30-year and 15-year rates tick up slightly, is now the right time to secure a home loan?

Large, modern-style suburban home with Today's Mortgage Rates graphic.

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Mortgage rates on Monday Nov. 16 are extremely competitive for 30-year, 20-year, and 15-year fixed-rate loans. Interest rates have been hovering near record lows for months, and remain competitive even with the rate on a 15-year and 30-year loan ticking up slightly. 

Here's what you need to know about today's average rates. 

Mortgage Type Today's Interest Rate
30-year fixed mortgage 2.887%
20-year fixed mortgage 2.734%
15-year fixed mortgage 2.387%
5/1 ARM 3.693%

DATA SOURCE: THE ASCENT'S NATIONAL MORTGAGE INTEREST RATE TRACKING.

30-year mortgage rates

The average 30-year mortgage rate today is 2.887%, up .004% compared with Friday's average rate of 2.883%. If you borrow at today's average rate, your total monthly payment for principal and interest would be $416 per $100,000 in mortgage debt. Property taxes and insurance would come at an additional cost. Throughout your entire loan repayment period, total interest costs would add up to $49,592 per $100,000 borrowed.  

Check out The Ascent's mortgage calculator to see what your monthly payment might be and how much your loan will ultimately cost. Also learn how much money you'd save by snagging a lower interest rate, making a larger down payment, or choosing a shorter loan term.

20-year mortgage rates

The average 20-year mortgage rate today is 2.734%, down .017% compared with Friday's average rate of 2.751%. At today's average rate for a 20-year fixed-rate loan, your combined principal and interest costs would be $541 per month for each $100,000 borrowed. You'd pay $29,930 in total interest per $100,000 in mortgage debt over the life of the loan.

The average interest rate on a 20-year fixed-rate mortgage is below the average rate on a 30-year mortgage. However, because your repayment timeline is a decade shorter, your monthly payment is higher in order to pay your loan off on time. This shortened repayment timeline means you pay interest for far less time, which accounts for the substantial savings in total interest costs over the life of the loan.  

15-year mortgage rates

The average 15-year mortgage rate today is 2.387%, up .008% compared with Friday's average rate of 2.379%. A 15-year mortgage at today's average interest rate would come with monthly payments of $661 for principal and interest per $100,000 borrowed. You would pay $19,067 in interest for each $100,000 in mortgage debt over the life of the loan.

The repayment timeline is even shorter on a 15-year loan than a 20-year loan, which explains why the monthly payment is higher even with the lower interest rate. You'll notice, of course, that you save substantially on interest costs over the life of the loan since you're paying interest for much less time. 

5/1 ARMs

The average 5/1 ARM rate is 3.693%, down .042% compared with Friday's average rate of 3.735%. With an ARM, your starting rate is locked in only for a limited time (five years in this case). Using an ARM to buy your home means gambling on rates not rising. There's no reason to take this risk right now. Since the average interest rate on a 5/1 ARM is above the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate loan, opting for an adjustable-rate mortgage would cost more up front. And there's a very good chance rates would adjust upward later, since rates are currently near record lows. 

Should I lock my mortgage rate now?

A mortgage rate lock guarantees you a certain interest rate for a specified period of time -- usually 30 days, though you may be able to secure your rate for up to 60 days. You'll generally pay a fee to lock in your mortgage rate, but that way, you're protected in case rates climb between now and when you actually close on your mortgage.

If you plan to close on your home within the next 30 days, then it pays to lock in your mortgage rate based on today's rates -- especially since they're so competitive. But if your closing is more than 30 days away, you may want to choose a floating rate lock instead for what will usually be a higher fee, but one that could save you money in the long run. A floating rate lock lets you secure a lower rate on your mortgage if rates fall prior to your closing, and while today's rates are still quite low, we don't know if rates will go up or down over the next few months. As such, it pays to:

  • LOCK if closing in days
  • LOCK if closing in 15 days
  • LOCK if closing in 30 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 45 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 60 days

Before locking in, you should get rate quotes from at least three of the best mortgage lenders to ensure you're getting a loan at the most competitive possible rate.

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