In general, mortgage rates remain at all-time lows. Low rates frequently are an indicator of a floundering economy. Mortgage rates will probably remain low as the US continues to bear the brunt of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rates from Money.com
Since last Monday, refinance rates on 15-year fixed mortgages, 30-year fixed mortgages, and 10/1 ARMs have increased. Rates on 7/1 ARMs have gone down 11 basis points since last week and nine basis points since last month.
You may want to secure a low mortgage rate now, even though most mortgage and refinance rates have risen since last Monday. Rates are still at striking lows.
However, there’s no need to hurry to apply for a mortgage or refinance. Rates will probably remain low for the coming months, if not years, so you’ll have time to improve your rate by bettering your financial standing. Here are a few ways you can get the lowest possible rate:
Save more for a down payment. You may be able to put down as little as 3% if you’re looking for a conventional mortgage, but the lowest amount will be contingent on which type of mortgage you want. You have an improved opportunity to get a better interest rate from your lender the higher your down payment.
Lower your debt-to-income ratio. Your DTI ratio is the amount you pay toward debts each month, divided by your gross monthly income. You can improve your rate by lowering your ratio. To better your ratio, pay down debts or find ways to boost your income.
You can secure a great rate now if you’re financially ready.
With a 15-year fixed mortgage, it will take you a decade and a half to pay down your mortgage, and you’ll pay a locked-in interest rate for the life of the loan.
A 15-year term will be less expensive than a longer term. You’ll pay off the mortgage in half the time and you’ll get a lower interest rate to boot.
On the flip side, you’ll fork over higher payments each month with a 15-year fixed mortgage than with a 30-year fixed mortgage. You’ll pay off the same loan principal in half of the time.
If you get a 30-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay off your mortgage over 30 years, and your interest rate will remain the same the whole time.
You’ll pay more in interest with a 30-year fixed mortgage than with a shorter term. You’re paying a higher interest rate for longer, so your overall interest paid will be higher.
However, you’ll cough up less per month with a 30-year mortgage than a 15-year mortgage because you’re splitting up your payments over an extended period.
A fixed-rate mortgage secures your rate for the lifetime of your loan. But with an adjustable-rate mortgage, you’ll pay a steady rate for the introductory period, then that rate will fluctuate systematically. A 10/1 ARM locks in your rate for a decade. Then your rate will vary once per year.
Although ARM rates are relatively low now, you still might want to go for a fixed-rate mortgage. The 30-year fixed rates are equivalent to or lower than ARM rates, so it could be the right time to lock in a low rate with a fixed mortgage, and you won’t chance a future rate increase with an ARM.
You can secure a low rate today. Just make sure you’re financially ready before you do so.
Ryan Wangman is a reviews fellow at Personal Finance Insider reporting on mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. In his past experience writing about personal finance, he has written about credit scores, financial literacy, and homeownership.
Laura Grace Tarpley is the associate editor of banking and mortgages at Personal Finance Insider, covering mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. She is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF). Over her four years of covering personal finance, she has written extensively about ways to save, invest, and navigate loans.
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