Today's Mortgage Rates -- February 18, 2021: Most Rates Climb While ARM Drops

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Here's what mortgage rates look like today. Should you apply?

Today's mortgage rates are up for fixed loans, but the 5/1 ARM rate has dropped. This is what they look like now:

Mortgage Type Today's Interest Rate
30-year fixed mortgage 2.898%
20-year fixed mortgage 2.643%
15-year fixed mortgage 2.280%
5/1 ARM 2.779%

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

30-year mortgage rates

The average 30-year mortgage rate today is 2.898%, up 0.031% from yesterday. At today's rate, you'll pay principal and interest of $416.44 for every $100,000 you borrow. That doesn't include added expenses like property taxes and homeowners insurance premiums.

20-year mortgage rates

The average 20-year mortgage rate today is 2.643%, up 0.027% from yesterday. At today's rate, you'll pay principal and interest of $536.75 for every $100,000 you borrow. Though your monthly payment will go up by $120.31 with a 20-year, $100,000 loan versus a 30-year loan of the same amount, you'll save $21,101.07 in interest over the course of your repayment period for every $100,000 you borrow.

15-year mortgage rates

The average 15-year mortgage rate today is 2.280%, up 0.019% from yesterday. At today's rate, you'll pay principal and interest of $656.48 for every $100,000 you borrow. Compared to the 30-year loan, your monthly payment will be $240.04 higher per $100,000 in mortgage principal. Your interest savings, however, will amount to $31,753.85 over the life of your repayment period per $100,000 of mortgage debt.

5/1 ARMs

The average 5/1 ARM rate is 2.779%, down 0.041% from yesterday. With a 5/1 ARM, you lock in your starting interest rate for five years, after which it can adjust once annually. Now your rate could fall over time, but it could also increase, so when you get an adjustable-rate mortgage, you take that risk.

For the first time in months, the 5/1 ARM has dropped to a lower level than the 30-year fixed mortgage. However, the difference in rate isn't so substantial and the discount you'll get with a 5/1 ARM is minimal, so you may want to just stick with a 30-year loan instead to avoid the risk of your rate climbing. You can also lock in a 20- or 15-year mortgage if you can swing the higher monthly payment, as both of those products are still available at a lower rate than the 5/1 ARM.

Should I lock in my mortgage rate now?

A mortgage rate lock guarantees you a specific 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 if rates climb between now and when you close on your home loan.

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 very low. 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 loan if rates fall before you close on your mortgage, and while today's rates are quite competitive, 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

If you're ready to apply for a mortgage, round up offers from a few different lenders so you can compare your choices. Each lender sets its own rate and closing costs, so you may find that one charges much higher fees to finalize a loan than another. Of course, you shouldn't hesitate to negotiate your loan's closing costs, because some of those fees may be flexible, but the key is to look at different offers before making a decision.

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