Today's Mortgage Rates -- March 31, 2021: Rates Mixed

by Christy Bieber | Updated July 19, 2021 - First published on March 31, 2021

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House key inside a lock with Today's Mortgage Rates graphic.

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What happened to average mortgage rates on the last day of March?

On March 31, 2021, average mortgage rates are up for some loans and down for others. As March draws to a close, rates are higher than they were last year when they hit record lows numerous times. However, they are still competitive, and home buyers may want to consider locking in a rate sooner rather than later.

Here's what you should know about today's average mortgage rates:

Mortgage Type Today's Interest Rate
30-year fixed mortgage 3.293%
20-year fixed mortgage 3.015%
15-year fixed mortgage 2.573%
5/1 ARM 3.075%

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

30-year mortgage rates

The average 30-year mortgage rate today is 3.293%, up 0.002% from yesterday's average of 3.291%. At today's average rate, you'd pay $438 per month in principal and interest per $100,000 borrowed. Total interest costs would add up to $57,525 per $100,000 borrowed over the life of the loan.

20-year mortgage rates

The average 20-year mortgage rate today is 3.015%, up 0.011% from yesterday's average of 3.004%. A mortgage loan at today's average interest rate would cost you $555 per $100,000 borrowed. For each $100,000 you borrow at today's average rate, total interest costs would add up to $33,284.

You can see that monthly payments are higher on the 20-year loan compared to the 30-year loan. You're paying off your loan faster, so each payment must be higher to pay off the principal on time. You also benefit from substantial savings on interest over time, though.

15-year mortgage rates

The average 15-year mortgage rate today is 2.573%, down 0.001% from yesterday's average of 2.574%. A loan at today's average rate would come with a monthly principal and interest payment of $670 per $100,000 borrowed. Over the life of the loan, your total interest costs would add up to $20,642 per $100,000 borrowed.

The 15-year loan will save you even more in total interest costs than the 20-year loan, but you will pay higher monthly payments in order to become debt free so quickly. You'll have to decide if you'd prefer to pay more each month but less over time.

5/1 ARMs

The average 5/1 ARM rate is 3.075%, down 0.011% from yesterday's average of 3.086%. This rate is guaranteed only for five years. After that, it will move based on a financial index that it's tied to. You take a big risk of this rate going up, causing you to have to pay more each month. Since the interest rate isn't much lower than the 30-year fixed-rate loan, that risk may not be worth taking.

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.

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Mortgage rates are on the rise — and fast. But they’re still relatively low by historical standards. So, if you want to take advantage of rates before they climb too high, you’ll want to find a lender who can help you secure the best rate possible.

That is where Better Mortgage comes in.

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