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Mortgage rates on March 12, 2021: Rates ease



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A number of important mortgage rates trended lower today. 15-year fixed and 30-year fixed mortgage rates both sank. The average rate of the most common type of variable-rate mortgage, the 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage, also dropped. Mortgage interest rates are never set in stone, but interest rates are the lowest they’ve been in years. If you plan to finance a house, now might be a great time to lock in a fixed rate. But as always, make sure to first take into account your personal goals and circumstances before buying a house, and talk to multiple lenders to find a lender who can best meet your needs.

Compare countrywide mortgage rates from various lenders

30-year fixed-rate mortgages

For a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, the average rate you’ll pay is 3.20%, which is a decrease of 1 basis point as seven days ago. (A basis point is equivalent to 0.01%.) 30-year fixed mortgages are the most frequently used loan term. A 30-year fixed rate mortgage will usually have a smaller monthly payment than a 15-year one — but usually a higher interest rate. 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 2.46%, which is a decrease of 4 basis points from seven days ago. You’ll definitely have a higher monthly payment with a 15-year fixed mortgage compared to a 30-year fixed mortgage, even if the interest rate and loan amount are the same. However, if you can 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 ARM has an average rate of 3.23%, a downtick of 2 basis points from the same time last week. You’ll usually 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 you might end up paying more after that time, depending on the terms of your loan and how the rate adjusts with the market rate. Because of this, an ARM might be a good option if you plan to sell or refinance your house before the rate changes. Otherwise, shifts in the market means your interest rate might be a good deal higher once the rate adjusts.

Mortgage rate trends

We use information collected by Bankrate, which is owned by the same parent company as CNET, to track daily mortgage rate trends. This table summarizes the average rates offered by lenders across the US:

Average mortgage interest rates

Product Rate Last week Change
30-year fixed 3.20% 3.21% -0.01
15-year fixed 2.46% 2.50% -0.04
30-year jumbo mortgage rate 3.05% 2.99% +0.06
30-year mortgage refinance rate 3.25% 3.30% -0.05

Rates as of March 12, 2021.

How to shop for the best mortgage rate

You can get a personalized mortgage rate by reaching out to your local mortgage broker or using an online calculator. Make sure to take into account your current financial situation and your goals when searching for a mortgage. Specific mortgage rates will vary based on factors including your credit score, down payment, debt-to-income ratio and loan-to-value ratio. Generally, you want a good credit score, a larger down payment, a lower DTI and a lower LTV to get a lower interest rate. Besides the mortgage interest rate, additional costs including closing costs, fees, discount points and taxes might also factor into the cost of your house. You should speak with multiple lenders — such as local and national banks, credit unions and online lenders — and comparison shop to find the best loan for you.

How does the loan term impact my mortgage?

When picking a mortgage, you should consider the loan term, or payment schedule. The most common mortgage terms are 15 years and 30 years, although 10-, 20- and 40-year mortgages also exist. Mortgages are further divided into fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. The interest rates in a fixed-rate mortgage are stable for the duration of the loan. For adjustable-rate mortgages, interest rates are stable for a certain number of years (typically five, seven or 10 years), then the rate changes annually based on the market rate. 

One factor to take into consideration when choosing between a fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage is how long you plan on living in your home. If you plan on staying long-term in your new house, fixed-rate mortgages may be the better option. While adjustable-rate mortgages can sometimes offer lower interest rates upfront, fixed-rate mortgages are more stable in the long term. However you might get a better deal with an adjustable-rate mortgage if you only intend to keep your house for a couple years. The “best” loan term all is entirely dependent on your personal situation and goals, so be sure to take into consideration what’s important to you when choosing a mortgage.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.



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