A handful of closely followed mortgage rates grew over the last seven days. The average 15-year fixed and 30-year fixed mortgage rates both increased. The average rate of the most common type of variable-rate mortgage, the 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage, also increased.
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.
Current mortgage rates for August 2023
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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
For a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, the average rate you’ll pay is 7.39%, which is a growth of 5 basis points from one week ago. (A basis point is equivalent to 0.01%.) The most frequently used loan term is a 30-year fixed mortgage. A 30-year fixed mortgage will often have a higher interest rate than a 15-year fixed rate mortgage — but also a lower monthly payment. You won’t be able to pay off your house as quickly and you’ll pay more interest over time, but a 30-year fixed mortgage is a good option if you’re looking to minimize your monthly payment.
15-year fixed-rate mortgages
The average rate for a 15-year, fixed mortgage is 6.65%, which is an increase of 6 basis points 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 larger monthly payment. But a 15-year loan will usually be the better deal, if you can afford the monthly payments. These include usually 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 6.35%, an uptick of 14 basis points from the same time last week. With an adjustable-rate mortgage mortgage, you’ll usually get a lower interest rate than a 30-year fixed mortgage for the first five years. However, you may end up paying more after that time, depending on the terms of your loan and how the rate adjusts with the market rate. If you plan to sell or refinance your house before the rate changes, an adjustable-rate mortgage could make sense for you. Otherwise, changes in the market mean your interest rate may be a good deal 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 rates collected by Bankrate to track daily mortgage rate trends. This table summarizes the average rates offered by lenders across the country:
Today’s mortgage interest rates
|30-year mortgage rate
|15-year fixed rate
|30-year jumbo mortgage rate
|30-year mortgage refinance rate
Rates as of August 4, 2023.
How to find the best mortgage rates
When you are ready to apply for a loan, you can connect with a local mortgage broker or search online. In order to find the best home mortgage, you’ll need to take into account your goals and overall financial situation.
A range of factors — including your down payment, credit score, loan-to-value ratio and debt-to-income ratio — will all affect your mortgage rate. Generally, you want a higher credit score, a larger 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 other factors such as fees, closing costs, taxes and discount points. Be sure to shop around with multiple lenders — like credit unions and online lenders in addition to local and national banks — in order to get a mortgage loan that’s best for you.
How does the loan term impact my mortgage?
One important consideration when choosing a mortgage is 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. Another important distinction is between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. For fixed-rate mortgages, interest rates are set for the life of the loan. Unlike a fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rates for an adjustable-rate mortgage are only fixed for a certain amount of time (usually five, seven or 10 years). After that, the rate fluctuates annually based on the market rate.
When choosing between a fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage, you should think about how long you plan to stay in your house. For those who plan on living long-term in a new house, fixed-rate mortgages may be the better option. Fixed-rate mortgages offer more stability over time compared to adjustable-rate mortgages, but adjustable-rate mortgages can sometimes offer lower interest rates upfront. If you aren’t planning to keep your new home for more than three to 10 years, however, an adjustable-rate mortgage could give you a better deal. There is no best loan term as a rule of thumb; it all depends on your goals and your current financial situation. Be sure to do your research and understand what’s most important to you when choosing a mortgage.