A couple of closely followed mortgage rates sank over the last seven days. Average 15-year fixed mortgage rates climbed, while average 30-year fixed mortgage rates shrank, while The average rate of the most common type of variable-rate mortgage, the 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage, decreased.
As inflation surged in 2022, so too did mortgage rates. To rein in price growth, the Federal Reserve began bumping up its federal funds rate — a short-term interest rate that determines what banks charge each other to borrow money. By making it more expensive to borrow, the central bank’s goal is to reduce prices by curtailing consumer spending.
During its July 26 meeting, the Fed initiated a 25-basis point (or 0.25%) hike to its federal funds rate, marking its 11th increase in the current rate hiking cycle. The most recent increase could have an impact on mortgage rates, but experts say the markets may have already factored it into rates.
About these rates: Like CNET, Bankrate is owned by Red Ventures. This tool features partner rates from lenders that you can use when comparing multiple mortgage rates.
“Mortgage rates will continue to ebb and flow week to week, but ultimately, I think rates will stick to that 6% to 7% range we’re seeing now,” said Jacob Channel, senior economist at loan marketplace LendingTree.
The Fed doesn’t set mortgage rates directly, but it does play an influential role. Mortgage rates move around on a daily basis in response to a range of economic factors, including inflation, employment and the broader outlook for the economy. A lower inflation rate is good news for mortgage rates, but the potential for additional hikes from the central bank this year will keep upward pressure on already high rates.
Rather than worrying about mortgage rates, though, homebuyers should focus on what they can control: getting the best rate they can for their financial situation.
To increase your odds at qualifying for the lowest rate available, take the steps necessary to improve your credit score and to save for a down payment. Also, be sure to compare the rates and fees from multiple lenders to get the best deal. Looking at the annual percentage rate, or APR, will show you the total cost of borrowing and help you make an apples-to-apples comparison among lenders.
30-year fixed-rate mortgages
The average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate is 7.55%, which is a decrease of 1 basis point from seven days ago. (A basis point is equivalent to 0.01%.) The most common loan term is a 30-year fixed mortgage. A 30-year fixed mortgage will usually have a greater interest rate than a 15-year fixed rate mortgage — but also a lower monthly payment. Although you’ll pay more interest over time — you’re paying off your loan over a longer timeframe — if you’re looking for a lower monthly payment, a 30-year fixed mortgage may be a good option.
15-year fixed-rate mortgages
The average rate for a 15-year, fixed mortgage is 6.80%, which is an increase of 1 basis point from the same time last week. Compared to a 30-year fixed mortgage, a 15-year fixed mortgage with the same loan value and interest rate will have a bigger monthly payment. However, as long as you’re able to afford the monthly payments, there are several benefits to a 15-year loan. These include typically being able to get a lower interest rate, paying off your mortgage sooner, and paying less total interest in the long run.
5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages
A 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage has an average rate of 6.53%, a downtick of 3 basis points compared to a week ago. You’ll typically get a lower interest rate (compared to a 30-year fixed mortgage) with a 5/1 ARM in the first five years of the mortgage. But changes in the market could cause your interest rate to increase after that time, as detailed in the terms of your loan. For borrowers who plan to sell or refinance their house before the rate changes, an adjustable-rate mortgage could be a good option. Otherwise, changes in the market mean your interest rate may be significantly higher once the rate adjusts.
Mortgage rate trends
Mortgage rates were historically low throughout most of 2020 and 2021, but increased steadily throughout 2022 as the Federal Reserve began aggressively hiking interest rates. Now, mortgage rates are well above where they were a year ago. What does this mean for homebuyers this year?
“Mortgage rates have hovered in the 6% to 7% range for the past 10 months. Though home prices have softened slightly nationally, the still-high cost of borrowing means hopeful home buyers have felt little relief,” said Hannah Jones, economic research analyst at Realtor.com.
However, if inflation continues to decline and the Fed is able to hold rates where they are and eventually cut them, mortgage rates are likely to decrease slightly in 2023. However, they’re highly unlikely to return to the rock-bottom levels of just a few years ago.
The most recent housing forecast from Fannie Mae calls for the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate to close out the year at around 6.6%.
“Mortgage rates have been volatile for some time now and while they could eventually start trending down over the next six months to a year as inflation growth continues to cool, their path is probably going to be bumpy,” Channel said.
We use information collected by Bankrate to track changes in these daily rates. This table summarizes the average rates offered by lenders across the US:
Today’s mortgage interest rates
|Loan term||Today’s Rate||Last week||Change|
|30-year mortgage rate||7.55%||7.56%||-0.01|
|15-year fixed rate||6.80%||6.79%||+0.01|
|30-year jumbo mortgage rate||7.58%||7.58%||N/C|
|30-year mortgage refinance rate||7.73%||7.75%||-0.02|
Rates as of Sept. 18, 2023.
How to find personalized mortgage rates
To find a personalized mortgage rate, speak to your local mortgage broker or use an online mortgage service. Make sure to take into account your current finances and your goals when trying to find a mortgage.
Specific mortgage interest rates will vary based on factors including credit score, down payment, debt-to-income ratio and loan-to-value ratio. Generally, you want a good credit score, a higher down payment, a lower DTI and a lower LTV to get a lower interest rate.
The interest rate isn’t the only factor that affects the cost of your home. Be sure to also consider additional factors such as fees, closing costs, taxes and discount points. Make sure you speak with a variety of lenders — like local and national banks, credit unions and online lenders — and comparison shop to find the best mortgage loan for you.
What is a good loan term?
One important consideration when choosing a mortgage is the loan term, or payment schedule. The loan terms most commonly offered are 15 years and 30 years, although you can also find 10-, 20- and 40-year mortgages. Mortgages are further divided into fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. For fixed-rate mortgages, interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan. Unlike a fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rates for an adjustable-rate mortgage are only the same for a certain amount of time (commonly five, seven or 10 years). After that, the rate changes annually based on the current interest rate in the market.
One thing to think about when choosing between a fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage is the length of time you plan on living in your home. For people who plan on living long-term in a new house, fixed-rate mortgages may be the better option. While adjustable-rate mortgages might have lower interest rates upfront, fixed-rate mortgages are more stable over time. If you aren’t planning to keep your new home for more than three to 10 years, though, an adjustable-rate mortgage may give you a better deal. There is no best loan term as a general rule; it all depends on your goals and your current financial situation. Be sure to do your research and know what’s most important to you when choosing a mortgage.