Today's Mortgage Rates -- May 12, 2021: Rates Are Mixed

by Christy Bieber | Updated July 19, 2021 - First published on May 12, 2021

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Hand piling stacks of coins next to model home with Today's Mortgage Rates graphic.

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It pays to follow mortgage rates trends if you're shopping for a home. Here's how rates are trending today.

On May 12, 2021, average mortgage rates are mixed, with some up and others down. Many home buyers will find today's rates are relatively affordable, although they are well above the record-low rates from last year.

If you're thinking about buying a home, take a look at today's average mortgage rates for May 12, 2021.

Mortgage Type Today's Interest Rate
30-year fixed mortgage 3.110%
20-year fixed mortgage 2.927%
15-year fixed mortgage 2.392%
5/1 ARM 2.778%

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

30-year mortgage rates

The average 30-year mortgage rate today is 3.110%, down 0.001% from yesterday's average of 3.111%. If you borrow at today's average rate, you'd have a monthly principal and interest payment of $428 per $100,000 borrowed. Total interest costs would be $53,922 per $100,000 in mortgage debt over the life of the loan.

20-year mortgage rates

The average 20-year mortgage rate today is 2.927%, up 0.008% from yesterday's average of 2.919%. You'd be looking at a principal and interest payment of $551 per $100,000 borrowed at today's average rate. The total costs of interest would add up to $32,228 per $100,000 borrowed over the loan's duration.

Although you save a lot of money over time on the 20-year loan compared with the 30-year one, you will need to make much higher monthly payments during the time you're repaying your debt. This may be worth it if you want to be debt free sooner and pay less interest in total, but be sure the higher payments fit into your budget.

15-year mortgage rates

The average 15-year mortgage rate today is 2.392%, down 0.006% from yesterday's average of 2.398%. You'd be looking at a principal and interest payment of $662 per $100,000 borrowed at today's average rate. And your total interest costs over the life of the loan would equal $19,109 per $100,000 borrowed.

The 15-year loan is paid off in half the time as the 30-year loan so obviously the interest savings is considerable since you're paying interest for a far shorter time period. Of course, each monthly payment must be much higher to pay off your debt on time.

5/1 ARMs

The average 5/1 ARM rate is 2.778%, down 0.066% from yesterday's average of 2.844%. After five years, this rate can change. Since there's a chance it could shift upward and make total interest costs and monthly payments both more expensive, you may not want to risk opting for a 5/1 ARM instead of a 30-year fixed-rate loan. That's especially the case since the starting rate isn't much lower on the ARM than the 30-year loan today.

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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