Current Mortgage Rates -- March 24, 2021: Rates Increase Again for Fixed-Rate Loans

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Fixed-rate loan options rose again today. They're still competitive, even if they're up from record lows.

On March 24, 2021, average mortgage rates went up for fixed-rate loans. Rising rates have been an ongoing trend, but rates are actually still really competitive. That's because they had repeatedly hit record lows last year, so they have a long way to climb before they get back to historical norms.

If you're thinking about borrowing to buy a home, here's what you need to know about today's average mortgage rates:

Mortgage Type Today's Interest Rate
30-year fixed mortgage 3.322%
20-year fixed mortgage 3.071%
15-year fixed mortgage 2.588%
5/1 ARM 3.034%

Data source:The Ascent's national mortgage interest rate tracking.

30-year mortgage rates

The average 30-year mortgage rate today is 3.322%, up 0.014% from yesterday's average of 3.308%. At today's average rate, you'd pay $439 per month in principal and interest per $100,000 borrowed. Total interest costs would add up to $58,100 per $100,000 borrowed over the life of the loan.

20-year mortgage rates

The average 20-year mortgage rate today is 3.071%, up 0.016% from yesterday's average of 3.055%. A loan at today's average rate would cost you $558 per month in principal and interest for each $100,000 you borrow. Over the life of the loan, you'd pay total interest costs of $33,958 per $100,000 borrowed.

As you can see, interest costs over time are lower than on a 30-year loan but your monthly payments are higher. That's what happens when you cut a decade off the time it takes to pay your mortgage. You pay the bank interest for less time, so you owe less of it -- but each monthly payment must be bigger to pay off your debt.

15-year mortgage rates

The average 15-year mortgage rate today is 2.588%, up 0.031% from yesterday's average of 2.557%. If you borrow at today's average rate, your monthly principal and interest payment would be $671 per $100,000 borrowed. You'd be looking at total interest costs of $20,769 per $100,000 in mortgage debt over the life of the loan.

With the 15-year loan option shortening your payoff time even more than the 20-year loan option, it's not surprising that the interest savings over time is much greater with this loan -- but the monthly payments are much higher too.

5/1 ARMs

The average 5/1 ARM rate is 3.034%, down 0.013% from yesterday's average of 3.047%. This rate is below the average rate you'd pay for a 30-year fixed-rate loan, so your monthly payments would start off lower.

However, it's guaranteed only for the first five years and can start adjusting once each year after that. There's a good chance it will go up, making your monthly payments and interest costs higher. You'll be taking a big chance to get this initial low starting rate, so be sure it's worth the risk.

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, but 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 7 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

To find out what rates are available to you, compare rates from at least three of the best mortgage lenders before locking in.

Our Research Expert

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