Up-close view of a well-kept suburban home with Today's Mortgage Rates graphic.

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Mortgage rates on Wednesday Nov. 18 have fallen again and are extremely competitive. Rates have dropped across the board and are well under 3.00% for 30-year fixed-rate loans and under 2.5% for 15-year fixed-rate options. 

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

Mortgage Type Today's Interest Rate
30-year fixed mortgage 2.852%
20-year fixed mortgage 2.656%
15-year fixed mortgage 2.358%
5/1 ARM 3.519%


30-year mortgage rates

The average 30-year mortgage rate today is 2.852%, down .019% from yesterday's average rate of 2.871%. If you borrow to buy a home at today's average rate, your monthly principal and interest payment would equal $414 per $100,000 in mortgage debt. This does not include property taxes or insurance. For each $100,000 in mortgage debt you take on at today's average rate, you'll pay $48,919 in interest over the life of the loan. 

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 2.656%, down .036% from yesterday's average of 2.692%. At today's average rate, monthly principal and interest payments would equal $538 per $100,000 borrowed and total interest costs over the life of the loan would be $29,009. 

It may seem odd that the monthly payment is so much higher on a 20-year loan than a 30-year loan even though the average interest rate is lower. The short payoff timeline is the reason. When you reduce the time to repay your loan by a decade, you simply must pay a lot more each month to pay off your loan on time even at a low interest rate. Of course, you'll notice the total interest cost is much lower as paying your loan for a decade less naturally means paying much less interest over time. 

15-year mortgage rates

The average 15-year mortgage rate today is 2.358%, down .038% from yesterday's average rate of 2.396%. At today's average rate, the monthly principal and interest payment would add up to $660 per $100,000 in debt and total interest costs over the life of the loan would be $18,823 per $100,000 borrowed.

Despite the even lower interest rate here, you are cutting an additional five years from your repayment timeline so it just makes sense that your monthly payment is much higher than on either a 30-year or 20-year loan -- but your total interest costs over time are much lower. 

5/1 ARMs

The average 5/1 ARM rate is 3.519%, down .057% from yesterday's average of 3.576%. An ARM (or adjustable-rate mortgage) is an attractive option under two circumstances. The first is if you believe rates will decline over time, which is extremely unlikely since they are currently at record lows. The second is if you can get a lower starting interest rate on an ARM than a fixed-rate loan and you want to take advantage of the lower monthly payment this allows while planning to move or refinance before the rates can adjust upward. With the average ARM rate above the 30-year fixed rate, that's not the case right now. As a result, there's really no reason for borrowers to consider ARMs. 

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.