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Refinance while rates are still low

More than 11.5 million homeowners can still save money by refinancing their mortgage.

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Our weekly rates vs. the national average

 

For today, Monday, January 17, 2022, the average rate for the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage is 3.52%, up 8 basis points from a week ago. If you're in the market for a mortgage refinance, the national average 30-year refinance rate is 3.51%, an increase of 6 basis points over the last week. Meanwhile, the national 15-year refinance rate is 2.81%, up 15 basis points over the last seven days. Whether you are buying or refinancing, Bankrate often has offers below the national average to help you finance your home for less.

Rate went an increase of 6 basis points

Mortgage industry insights

Last call for super-low mortgage rates?

Most experts expect mortgage rates will rise in 2022. While rates hovered around 3 percent for much of 2021, they should be closer to 3.5 percent — and possibly higher — before the end of next year, according to economists at the National Association of Realtors. While that’s still very low by historical standards, the record-setting days are probably behind us now, and the trend points upward from here. Now’s the chance to take advantage of today’s low rates before they climb higher.

>> Read more about how mortgage rates could rise as the FED begins to taper & what to do now

Why compare mortgage rates?

Shopping around for quotes from multiple lenders is one of Bankrate’s most crucial pieces of advice for every mortgage applicant. When you shop, it’s important to think about not just the interest rate you’re being quoted, but also all the other terms of the loan. Be sure to compare APRs, which include many additional costs of the mortgage not shown in the interest rate. Keep in mind that some institutions may have lower closing costs than others, or your current bank may extend you a special offer. There’s always some variability between lenders on both rates and terms, so make sure you understand the full picture of each offer, and think about what will suit your situation best. Comparison-shopping on Bankrate is especially smart, because our relationships with lenders can help you get special low rates.

How to get a mortgage

Because a home is usually the biggest purchase a person makes, a mortgage is usually a household’s largest chunk of debt. Getting the best possible terms on your loan can mean a difference of hundreds of extra dollars in or out of your budget each month, and tens of thousands of dollars in or out of your pocket over the life of the loan. It is important to prepare for the mortgage application process to ensure you get the best rate and monthly payments within your budget.

Here are quick steps to prepare for a mortgage:

  1. Build your credit
  2. Make a budget
  3. Set savings aside for both down payment and expected monthly payments
  4. Research the best type of mortgage for you
  5. Get preapproved
  6. See multiple houses within your budget
  7. Apply for a mortgage loan
  8. Get approved!
  9. Close on your new house

>> Read more about the mortgage process in our how to get a mortgage guide

You should also make sure you are ready to be a homebuyer. While it is advantageous to get a mortgage when rates are low, first ensure it makes sense for your budget and long-term financial goals. Rates will also vary by lender and other factors such as down payment and credit score.

What factors determine my mortgage rate?

Lenders consider these factors when pricing your interest rate:

  • Credit score
  • Down payment
  • Property location
  • Loan amount/closing costs
  • Loan type
  • Loan term
  • Interest rate type

Your credit score is the most important driver of your mortgage rate. Lenders have settled on this three-digit score as the most reliable predictor of whether you’ll make prompt payments. The higher your score, the less risk you pose in the lender’s view — and the lower rate you’ll pay.

Lenders also consider how much you’re putting down. The greater share of the home’s total value you pay upfront, the more favorably they view your application. The kind of mortgage you choose can affect your rate, too, with shorter-term loans like 15-year mortgages typically having lower rates compared to 30-year ones.

Mortgage FAQs

Looking to refinance?

Refinancing your mortgage can be a good financial move if you lock in a lower rate. However, there are upfront costs associated with refinancing, such as appraisals, underwriting fees and taxes, so you’ll want to be sure the savings outpace the refinance price tag in a reasonable amount of time, say 18 to 24 months.

Mortgage rates remain at historically low levels, although they are starting to rise. That means millions of homeowners still could save by refinancing. Reducing your rate isn’t the only reason to refinance. It’s also possible to tap into your home equity to pay for home renovation, or, if you want to pay down your mortgage more quickly, you can shorten your term to 20, 15 or even 10 years. Because home values have risen sharply, it’s possible that a refinance could free you from paying for private mortgage insurance.

>> Find and compare refinance rates

>> For more information on mortgage refinancing, visit Bankrate’s mortgage refinancing hub.

Written by: Jeff Ostrowski, senior mortgage reporter for Bankrate

Jeff Ostrowski covers mortgages and the housing market. Before joining Bankrate in 2020, he wrote about real estate and the economy for the Palm Beach Post and the South Florida Business Journal.

Read more from Jeff Ostrowski

Reviewed by: Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate

Greg McBride, CFA, is Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Analyst, for Bankrate.com. He leads a team responsible for researching financial products, providing analysis, and advice on personal finance to a vast consumer audience.

Read more from Greg McBride