Today's Mortgage Rates -- May 24, 2021: Rates Are Mixed

by Christy Bieber | Updated July 19, 2021 - First published on May 24, 2021

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

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As the end of May approaches, here's what happened with average mortgage rates on May 24, 2021.

Average mortgage rates are mixed today, with some stable, others up, and others down. The national average rate can give you an idea of what your home loan may cost. However, your own financial credentials, including your credit and income, will ultimately determine the rate your lender charges you.

Here's how average mortgage rates are trending on May 24, 2021:

Mortgage Type Today's Interest Rate
30-year fixed mortgage 3.166%
20-year fixed mortgage 2.932%
15-year fixed mortgage 2.413%
5/1 ARM 2.946%

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

30-year mortgage rates

The average 30-year mortgage rate today is 3.166%, up 0.002% from Friday's average of 3.164%. For each $100,000 borrowed at today's average rate, your monthly principal and interest payment would add up to $431. Total interest costs would be $54,980 per $100,000 in mortgage debt over the life of the loan.

20-year mortgage rates

The average 20-year mortgage rate today is 2.932%, down 0.028% from Friday's average of 2.960%. You'd be looking at a principal and interest payment of $551 per $100,000 borrowed at today's average rate. During your entire loan repayment period, you'd pay total interest costs of $32,288 per $100,000 borrowed.

When you look at total costs over time, the 20-year mortgage appears to be a better bet than the 30-year fixed-rate loan. But you are going to be stuck with much higher monthly payments, so be sure they fit into your budget.

15-year mortgage rates

The average 15-year mortgage rate today is 2.413%, unchanged from Friday's average. If you borrow at today's average rate, you'd have a monthly principal and interest payment of $663 per $100,000 borrowed. Over the life of the loan, you'd pay total interest costs of $19,286 per $100,000 borrowed.

This loan option saves you more over time than the 20-year or 30-year, but the monthly costs are much higher due to the significantly shorter payoff time. If you can afford to pay the required amount each month and becoming debt free ASAP is a priority, the 15-year loan may be right for you.

5/1 ARMs

The average 5/1 ARM rate is 2.946%, down 0.005% from Friday's average of 2.951%. An adjustable-rate mortgage is a riskier loan because this starting rate is guaranteed for just the first five years. After that, rates could adjust and may go up, causing monthly payments and total costs to rise. Consider whether it's worth taking the chance of your loan costing more just to get a slightly lower starting rate than the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage offers.

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 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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