by Maurie Backman | Sept. 10, 2020
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Mortgage rates are still very low, so if you're hoping to buy a place of your own, now may be the time to apply for a home loan.
Mortgage rates change all the time, and right now, they're almost unbelievably low. That means you have a real opportunity to lock in an affordable housing payment and achieve your dream of becoming a homeowner. This is what today's rates look like:
|30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate||2.956%||3.110%|
|20-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate||2.993%||3.148%|
|15-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate||2.467%||2.664%|
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The average 30-year mortgage rate today is 2.956%, which is a slight increase from earlier this week. For a $200,000 mortgage, you'll be looking at a monthly payment of $838.04 for principal and interest on your loan. Your total monthly costs will be higher, however, because once you buy a home, you'll also have to cover property taxes and homeowners insurance at a minimum. And you may have other fees, like private mortgage insurance or HOA dues, as well.
The average interest rate for a 20-year fixed mortgage is 2.993%, which is also a very small increase from earlier in the week. For a $200,000 mortgage, this rate will give you a monthly payment of $1,107.99 for principal and interest on your loan. What's surprising is that the average interest rate for a 20-year mortgage is actually a touch higher than the average rate for a 30-year loan. Usually, the shorter the loan term, the lower the rate. But to be clear, 2.993% is still a great deal on a 20-year mortgage, and if you can afford the higher monthly payment that comes with it, you'll save a bundle of money on interest in the long run.
The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed mortgage is 2.467%, which is a small decrease from earlier in the week. For a $200,000 mortgage, today’s rate gives you a monthly payment of $1,330.94 for principal and interest. If you can afford to pay that much, you'll be debt-free in just a decade and a half, and you'll save even more on mortgage interest than you would with a 20-year loan.
The average interest rate for a 5/1 ARM is 3.468%, which is an increase from earlier in the week. And as was the case then, now's still not a good time to get an adjustable-rate mortgage. The reason? You can score a lower rate on a 30-year loan that's fixed. The main reason to get an ARM is to snag a lower interest rate on your loan up front in exchange for taking on the risk of that rate going up over time. But right now, an ARM won't give you that initial lower rate, so it doesn't make a lot of sense to apply for one.
A mortgage rate lock guarantees you a certain interest rate for a certain 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 you can still get a 30-year mortgage at under 3%, or a 15-year mortgage at under 2.5%. 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 extremely low, we don't know if rates will go up or down over the next few months. As such, it pays to:
If today's mortgage rates appeal to you, you should know that your strongest chance of snagging the best deal is to shop around with different mortgage lenders. When it comes to granting mortgages, each lender sets its own standards, so your credit score might get you a better offer from one lender than another. Also, don't forget to look at closing costs on your loan. The lower they are, the more savings you stand to reap over time.
Chances are, interest rates won't stay put at multi-decade lows for much longer. That's why taking action today is crucial, whether you're wanting to refinance and cut your mortgage payment or you're ready to pull the trigger on a new home purchase.
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