If you’re ready to take out a mortgage, you can use our ranking of the best mortgage lenders to assess your options.
How to use our Mortgage Rate Chart
Our Mortgage Rate Chart is designed to help you compare the rates offered to you by lenders to see if they are better or worse. These rates are reference rates for those with good credit and not indicative rates that lead everyone to believe they will get the lowest rate available. Of course, your personal credit profile will be a big factor in the rate you actually get from a lender, but you can shop for new purchase or refinance rates with confidence.
How to Shop for Mortgage Rates
Written by: Sarah Li Cain
There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for mortgage rates:
- Be sure to check with national and local lenders to find the best possible rates.
- Avoid applying for mortgages in multiple places, as this could hurt your credit score. Instead, pull your credit report and get an accurate picture of your credit history that you can share with potential lenders. Ask them to provide you with the rates based on this information. This way, you preserve your credit score while getting the most accurate information for your credit profile.
- Use our rate chart to help you determine if lenders are offering you a competitive rate based on your credit profile.
What is a good mortgage rate?
A good mortgage rate will depend on the borrower. Lenders will advertise the lowest rate offered, but yours will depend on factors such as your credit history, income, other debts and down payment. For example, a good mortgage rate for someone with a low credit score tends to be higher than for someone with a higher credit score.
It’s important to understand what will affect your individual rate and to work on optimizing your finances so you can get the most competitive rate for your financial situation.
How do I qualify for better mortgage rates?
Qualifying for better mortgage rates can help you save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Here are some ways to ensure you find the most competitive rate possible:
- Increase your credit score: A borrower’s credit score is an important factor in determining mortgage rates. The higher the credit score, the more likely the borrower is to get a lower rate. It’s a good idea to review your credit score to see how you can improve it, whether that’s making payments on time or disputing errors on your credit report.
- Increase your down payment: Most lenders offer lower mortgage rates for those with a larger down payment. This will depend on the type of mortgage you apply for, but sometimes putting down at least 20% could get you better rates.
- Reduce your debt ratio: Also called DTI, your debt-to-income ratio looks at your total monthly debt and divides it by your gross income. Usually, lenders do not want a DTI of 43% or higher, as this may indicate that you may have difficulty meeting your monthly obligations as a borrower. The lower your DTI, the less risky you will appear to the lender, resulting in a lower interest rate.
What size mortgage can I afford?
In general, owners can afford a mortgage it’s two to two and a half times their annual gross income. For example, if you earn $80,000 a year, you can afford a mortgage of $160,000 to $200,000. Keep in mind that this is a general guideline and you should consider other factors to determine how much you can afford, such as your lifestyle.
First, your lender will determine what they think you can afford based on your income, debts, assets, and liabilities. However, you need to figure out how much you’re willing to spend, your current expenses – most experts recommend do not spend more than 28% of your gross income on housing costs. Lenders will also look at your DTI, meaning the higher your DTI, the less you can afford a larger mortgage.
Don’t forget to include other costs besides your mortgage, which includes applicable HOA fees, home insurance, property taxes, and home maintenance costs. Using a mortgage calculator can be useful in this situation to help you determine how comfortably you can afford a mortgage payment.
What is a mortgage rate?
A mortgage rate is the amount of interest determined by a lender to charge on a mortgage. These rates can be fixed, that is to say established according to a reference rate, for the duration of the mortgage loan of the borrower or variable according to the conditions of the mortgage loan and the rates in effect. The rate is one of the key factors for borrowers when researching home financing options because it will affect their monthly payments and the amount they pay over the life of the loan.
How are mortgage rates set?
Mortgage rates are set based on a few factors, economic forces being one of them. For example, lenders look preferential rate– the lowest rate offered by banks for loans – which generally follows the trends set by the Federal Reserve’s federal funds rate. These are usually a few percentage points.
The yield on 10-year Treasury bonds can also reveal market trends. If bond yields rise, mortgage rates tend to rise, and vice versa. The 10-year Treasury yield is generally the best standard for judging mortgage rates. This is because many mortgages are refinanced or paid off after 10 years, although the norm is a 30 year loan.
The factors that the borrower can control are his credit rating and the amount of the down payment. Since lenders set rates based on the risk they can take, borrowers with less credit or lower down payments may be offered higher rates. In other words, the lower the risk, the lower the rate for the borrower.
Does the Federal Reserve set mortgage rates?
Although the Federal Reserve does not set mortgage rates, it indirectly influences the rate. The Federal Reserve helps guide the economy by controlling inflation and encouraging growth. This means that decisions made by the Federal Open Market Committee in raising or lowering short-term interest rates may cause lenders to raise or lower theirs.
Do different types of mortgages have different rates?
Mortgage rates can be different depending on the type. For example, fixed rate mortgages tend to be higher than variable rate ones. However, variable rate mortgages tend to have lower rates for a predetermined period of time and then fluctuate as they adjust to current market conditions.
Are interest rates and APR the same?
Interest rates and APR are not the same. An annual percentage rate (APR) reflects the additional costs associated with your mortgage, which includes interest. The interest rate reflects the cost homeowners pay to borrow money. These fees include fees such as origination fees and discount points, which is why the APR is usually higher than the interest rate.
What are Mortgage Points?
Also known as discount points, these are one-time charges or prepaid interest that borrowers purchase to lower the interest rate on their mortgage. Each rebate point costs one percent of your mortgage amount, or $1,000 for every $100,000, and will reduce the rate by a quarter of a percent, or 0.25. For example, if the interest rate is 4%, buying a mortgage point will reduce the rate to 3.75%.
How much do I need for a deposit?
The minimum amount you will need to pay will depend on the type of mortgage loan. Many lenders require a minimum of 5-20%, while others, such as government-backed ones, require at least 3.5%. VA loan is the exception with no down payment requirement.
Generally, the higher your down payment, the lower your rate can be. Homeowners who have put at least 20 percent will be able to save the most.
In order to assess mortgage rates, we first had to create a credit profile. This profile included a credit score ranging from 700 to 760 with a home loan to value (LTV) ratio of 80%. With this profile, we’ve averaged the lowest rates offered by over 200 of the nation’s top lenders. As such, these rates are representative of what real consumers will see when shopping for a mortgage.
The same credit profile was used for the state best rate card. We then found the lowest rate currently offered by a surveyed lender in that state.
Remember that mortgage rates can change daily and this data is provided for informational purposes only. A person’s personal credit and income profile will be the determining factors of the loan rates and terms they can obtain. Loan rates do not include amounts for taxes or insurance premiums and individual lender terms will apply.