California Mortgage and Refinance Rates
On Friday, March 24, 2023, the national average 30-year fixed mortgage APR is 6.81%. The national average 30-year fixed refinance APR is 6.92%, according to Bankrate's latest survey of the nation's largest mortgage lenders.
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About our Mortgage Rate Tables: The above mortgage loan information is provided to, or obtained by, Bankrate. Some lenders provide their mortgage loan terms to Bankrate for advertising purposes and Bankrate receives compensation from those advertisers (our "Advertisers"). Other lenders' terms are gathered by Bankrate through its own research of available mortgage loan terms and that information is displayed in our rate table for applicable criteria. In the above table, an Advertiser listing can be identified and distinguished from other listings because it includes a "Next" button that can be used to click-through to the Advertiser's own website or a phone number for the Advertiser.
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Loans Above $726,200 May Have Different Loan Terms: If you are seeking a loan for more than $726,200, lenders in certain locations may be able to provide terms that are different from those shown in the table above. You should confirm your terms with the lender for your requested loan amount.
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Current mortgage interest rates in California
As of Friday, March 24, 2023, current interest rates in California are 6.82% for a 30-year fixed mortgage and 6.06% for a 15-year fixed mortgage. After hitting record lows in 2021, mortgage rates rose sharply in 2022. So far, in 2023, they’ve plateaued somewhat in the 6 percent range. Still, the seemingly here-to-stay higher rate environment means housing affordability, already a challenge in California’s high-priced real estate market, presents an even higher hurdle.
One silver lining: Rates on jumbo mortgages have been below rates for conforming mortgages, so Californians who need to borrow more than $1 million can do so at favorable rates.
While interest rates no longer are at historic lows, you might be able to do a cash-out refinance to pay for renovations. You can use Bankrate’s mortgage refinance calculator to run the numbers.
Shopping around for quotes from multiple lenders is one of Bankrate’s most crucial pieces of advice for every mortgage applicant. When you compare, it’s important to look at 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 “existing clients” 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.
How to find the best mortgage rate in California for you
Comparison-shopping for a mortgage is crucial. By comparing at least three offers, borrowers can save thousands of dollars over the life of a loan. Bankrate can help you find the best mortgage deal in today’s volatile rate environment. Here are the basic steps to making the best decision:
- Determine which type of mortgage is right for you. Consider your credit score and down payment, how long you plan to stay in the home, how much you can afford in monthly payments and whether you have the risk tolerance for a variable-rate loan versus a fixed-rate loan. If you’re a veteran or servicemember, VA loans offer compelling benefits. If you’re a first-time buyer, an FHA loan might make the most sense.
- Figure out whether you’ll be above or below the jumbo loan limit. In California’s largest counties, conventional loan limits go up to $1,089,300. If you borrow more than that, you need a jumbo loan. See California loan limits by county.
- Compare mortgage rates. Once you decide which mortgage type fits your needs, you can begin comparing current options. There’s only one way to be sure you’re getting the best available rate, and that’s to look at least three lenders, including large banks, credit unions and online lenders, or by using a mortgage broker. Bankrate offers a mortgage rates comparison tool to help you find the right rate from a variety of lenders.
- Choose the loan that best fits your needs. Bankrate’s mortgage calculator can help you estimate your monthly mortgage payment, which can be useful as you consider your budget. Look at the APR, not just the interest rate. The APR is the total cost of the loan, including the interest rate and other fees, so it’s usually a larger figure, but often a more accurate one — in terms of what you’ll effectively be paying.
Mortgage options in California
The Golden State is aptly named: Home to three of the 10 largest cities in the country, but also blessed with beautiful countryside and coastal areas. Luckily, when it comes to mortgages in California, you have plenty of options. Here are some common loan types:
- California conventional mortgages: Rates and requirements will vary depending on the area you want to live in and your financial situation. You can compare mortgage rates to find the option that’s right for you.
- CalHFA: The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) offers state residents access to mortgages, as well as smaller loans designed to help with a down payment or closing costs. To get started, borrowers can contact a CalHFA-approved lender or preferred loan officer.
- California FHA loans: Home loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) are offered throughout the U.S. While the FHA doesn’t offer loans directly, you can find one through an FHA-approved lender in California. They are offered to first-time homebuyers, defined as those that have not purchased a home in the past two years, as well as repeat buyers. FHA loans are generally designed for low- to moderate-income borrowers with lower credit scores.
- California VA loans: Backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA loans are offered to eligible veterans and active-duty service members. While the VA doesn’t offer loans directly, you can find one through a VA-approved lender in California. They require no down payment and typically have lower interest rates than conventional mortgages.
First-time homebuyer programs in California
Buying a house in California is a pricey proposition, but first-time homebuyers in California have access to assistance in the form of grants and programs. Learn more about California first-time homebuyer programs.
- CalHFA down payment assistance programs: Low- to moderate-income borrowers can apply for small down payment and closing costs assistance loans through CalHFA. One option is the MyHome Assistance program, which allows you to borrow a deferred loan worth up to 3.5 percent of the purchase price or appraised value to help you cover closing costs and the down payment.
- CalHFA and CalPLUS Conventional Loan Programs: With the CalHFA Conventional Loan Program, you can get a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage on the conventional market. This means you’ll have access to competitively low interest rates, but you’ll also need to meet qualification requirements. The CalPLUS Conventional Loan Program is similar, but with a slightly higher interest rate that can be combined with the CalHFA Zero Interest Program to help pay closing costs.