Current Mortgage Rates -- May 17, 2021: Rates Tick Up

by Christy Bieber | Updated July 19, 2021 - First published on May 17, 2021

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

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How are mortgage rates trending as we move into the middle of May? Find out here.

As we move into the second half of May, average mortgage rates are up a bit today. If you're in the market for a home loan, it's important to see how national average rates are trending. While your rate is personalized based on your financial credentials, average rates can give you an idea of what you might expect to pay.

Check out today's average mortgage rates for May 17, 2021:

Mortgage Type Today's Interest Rate
30-year fixed mortgage 3.144%
20-year fixed mortgage 2.971%
15-year fixed mortgage 2.409%
5/1 ARM 2.841%

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

30-year mortgage rates

The average 30-year mortgage rate today is 3.144%, up 0.013% from Friday's average of 3.131%. For each $100,000 borrowed at today's average rate, your monthly principal and interest payment would add up to $429. During your entire loan repayment period, you'd pay total interest costs of $54,588 per $100,000 borrowed.

20-year mortgage rates

The average 20-year mortgage rate today is 2.971%, up 0.005% from Friday's average of 2.966%. At today's average rate, the monthly principal and interest payment would add up to $553 per $100,000 in mortgage debt. Total interest costs would add up to $32,755 per $100,000 borrowed over the life of the loan.

The shorter the loan payoff time, the less your interest costs will be over time. That's because you won't pay interest for as long. Unfortunately, with a shortened payoff time, each payment must be higher so you can become debt free on schedule. As a result, while the 20-year mortgage loan would cost less over time than the 30-year, it would be more expensive on a monthly basis.

15-year mortgage rates

The average 15-year mortgage rate today is 2.409%, up 0.012% from Friday's average of 2.397%. You'd be looking at a principal and interest payment of $663 per $100,000 borrowed at today's average rate. The total costs of interest would add up to $19,253 per $100,000 borrowed at today's average rate.

The 15-year loan comes with an even shorter repayment timeline, so it will save borrowers more than the 20-year or 30-year loan over time, but each monthly payment will be much higher.

5/1 ARMs

The average 5/1 ARM rate is 2.841%, up 0.022% from Friday's average of 2.819%. ARM stands for adjustable-rate mortgage. A 5/1 ARM has a rate that can adjust once per year after the initial five year term is over. Since it's very possible rates could rise then -- especially since they are currently near record lows -- many homeowners may not want to take on the risk that an ARM presents. That's especially true since the starting rate doesn't provide much of a discount compared with the 30-year fixed-rate loan.

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 still pretty 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, historically speaking, 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.

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