North Carolina Mortgage and Refinance Rates
As of Sunday, September 19, 2021, current rates in North Carolina are 3.08% for a 30-year fixed, and 2.35% for a 15-year fixed.
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict editorial integrity, this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for how we make money.
North Carolina mortgage overview
By Zach Wichter
If you want to call North Carolina home, you have access to several mortgage options and first-time homebuyer assistance programs that can make the homebuying process easier and more affordable.
North Carolina conventional mortgages: To qualify for a conventional mortgage, you generally must meet the following requirements.
- Credit score of at least 620
- Debt-to-income ratio (DTI) of no more than 45 percent
- Down payment of at least 10 percent of the loan amount
- Pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) if down payment is less than 20 percent
North Carolina FHA loans: If you don’t meet conventional loan requirements, you may qualify for an FHA loan. These are backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and the requirements include:
- Credit score of at least 500
- 10 percent down payment if credit score is between 500-579
- 3.5 percent down payment if credit score is 580 or higher
- DTI between 31 percent and 41 percent
North Carolina VA loans: Insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA loans are offered to qualifying veterans and active duty members of the armed forces. VA loans don’t require a down payment or PMI, and can be obtained through a VA-approved lender.
Top 5 Bankrate mortgage lenders in North Carolina
- Better.com – Best overall
- Cardinal Financial Company – Best for first-time homebuyers
- Lower – Best online lender
- First Mortgage Direct –Best non-bank lender
- Bethpage Federal Credit Union – Best credit union lender
Bankrate helps thousands of borrowers find mortgage and refinance lenders every day. To determine the top mortgage lenders, we analyzed proprietary data across more than 150 lenders to assess which on our platform received the most inquiries within a three-month period. We then assigned superlatives based on factors such as fees, products offered, convenience and other criteria. These top lenders are updated regularly.
Better.com – Best overall
Better.com has only been around since 2016, but the lender has made big strides in redefining the mortgage process with an all-digital approach to finding a loan that fits your needs. In 2020, the lender funded more than $24 billion in loans. Its website offers a transparent approach to browsing loan options, and you’ll enjoy your final tab at closing: The lender doesn’t charge any fees.
Strengths: No fees; preapproval letters in three minutes; mortgage rates available online without needing to contact a loan officer
Weaknesses: No VA or USDA loans; no home equity loans
Read Bankrate's Better.com mortgage review
Cardinal Financial Company – Best for first-time homebuyers
Saving up for the down payment on your first home purchase can feel like climbing a mountain, but Cardinal Financial Company can help give you a nudge toward the top. The lender participates in down payment assistance programs that can make a big difference for low- and moderate-income borrowers. It also offers FHA loans, which can be a great option for first-time homebuyers.
Strengths: Closings as fast as seven days; technology platform Octane offers a speedy, paperless borrowing experience; offers online chat with loan officers
Weaknesses: Fees and mortgage rates not listed online; have to contact a loan officer for thorough information about your options
Read Bankrate's Cardinal Financial mortgage review
Lower – Best online lender
With Lower, you can expect to close your loan in 30 days, and getting your mortgage comes with the assurance that you’ll be able to refinance without any additional fees. The lender’s “Free Refi for Life” program waives the $1,695 fee for existing borrowers.
Strengths: Helps you save for a down payment and matches your contribution up to $500; publishes rates online; offers free refinancing for existing customers
Weaknesses: Not accredited by the Better Business Bureau
Read Bankrate's Lower mortgage review
First Mortgage Direct – Best non-bank lender
First Mortgage Direct is only available in a select number of places in the U.S., and luckily, The Tar Heel State is one of them. Getting a mortgage with this lender is especially affordable since there are no lender fees. As with other lenders, you also have the option to pay discount points to lower your interest rate.
Strengths: No hidden fees; A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
Weaknesses: Could be in for a longer closing (60 days for refinancing); mortgage rates aren’t advertised on its website
Read Bankrate's First Mortgage Direct review
Bethpage Federal Credit Union – Best credit union lender
Bethpage Federal Credit Union is based in New York, but North Carolinians can take advantage of membership, too. By opening a $5 savings account, you can access the credit union’s competitive rates on a wide range of home loan products.
Strengths: Mortgage rates displayed online; also offers home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)
Weaknesses: No branch locations in North Carolina; fee information not easily accessible
Read Bankrate's Bethpage Federal Credit Union review
First-time homebuyer programs in North Carolina
The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA) offers options to help first-time homebuyers find low-interest mortgages and no-interest down payment assistance loans.
NC Home Advantage Mortgage
With an NC Home Advantage Mortgage, offered through the NCHFA, borrowers can get a fixed-rate mortgage coupled with down payment assistance up to 5 percent of the loan principal. This is available to both first-time and repeat homebuyers. To qualify:
- Your annual income must be under $89,500
- Your credit score must be 640 or higher
- You must be a legal resident of the U.S. and buying a home in North Carolina
- You must occupy the home as your primary residence within 60 days of closing
The NC Home Advantage Mortgage is available for single-family homes, condos, duplexes and townhouses, as well as new manufactured homes if your credit score is 660 or higher.
NC 1st Home Advantage Down Payment
For NC Home Advantage Mortgage borrowers, the NCHFA also offers the 1st Home Advantage Down Payment program, which is specifically for first-time homebuyers (defined as those who haven’t owned a home in the past three years) and military veterans.
Through this program, borrowers can get up to $8,000 to assist with the down payment in the form of a deferred, zero-percent second mortgage. The second mortgage is forgiven in 20 percent increments between years 11 and 15 of the loan term, and completely forgiven at the end of year 15.
NC Home Advantage Tax Credit
The NC Home Advantage Tax Credit allows first-time homebuyers and military veterans to claim a federal tax credit for the interest on their mortgage through a Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC). The credit is equal to 30 percent of the interest paid yearly for an existing home, or 50 percent of the interest paid yearly for a new-construction home. Borrowers can claim credits up to $2,000 per year through the program.
To claim this credit, borrowers must apply for the MCC through the NCHFA before buying their home.
North Carolina mortgage refinancing
With interest rates at record lows, North Carolina borrowers may be interested in refinancing their mortgage into a new one with a lower rate. Use Bankrate’s mortgage refinance calculator to see how much you can save by lowering your rate.