Mortgage Interest Rates Today, October 16, 2020 | Rates move down

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Multiple closely watched mortgage rates ticked downward today. The average rates on 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed mortgages both tapered off. The average rate on 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, the most popular type of variable rate mortgage, also trended down.

Mortgage rates are constantly changing, but they continue to represent a bargain compared to rates before the Great Recession. If you’re in the market for a mortgage, it could make sense to lock if you see a rate you like. Just be sure to shop around.

Compare mortgage rates in your area now.

30-year fixed mortgages

The average rate you’ll pay for a 30-year fixed mortgage is 3.02 percent, down 2 basis points from a week ago. Last month on the 16th, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was lower, at 2.98 percent.

At the current average rate, you’ll pay a combined $422.68 per month in principal and interest for every $100,000 you borrow. That’s down $1.08 from what it would have been last week.

You can use Bankrate’s mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly payments and see what the effects of making extra payments would be. It will also help you computehow much interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.

15-year fixed mortgages

The average 15-year fixed-mortgage rate is 2.54 percent, down 1 basis point since the same time last week.

Monthly payments on a 15-year fixed mortgage at that rate will cost around $669 per $100,000 borrowed. The bigger payment may be a little more difficult to find room for in your monthly budget than a 30-year mortgage payment would, but it comes with some big advantages: You’ll save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan in total interest paid and build equity much more quickly.

5/1 ARMs

The average rate on a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgageis 3.08 percent, sliding 3 basis points from a week ago.

These loan types are best for those who expect to refinance or sell before the first or second adjustment. Rates could be much higher when the loan first adjusts, and thereafter.

Monthly payments on a 5/1 ARM at 3.08 percent would cost about $426 for each $100,000 borrowed over the initial five years, but could ratchet higher by hundreds of dollars afterward, depending on the loan’s terms.

Where rates are headed

To see where Bankrate’s panel of experts expect rates to go from here, check out our Rate Trend Index.

Want to see where rates are currently? Lenders nationwide respond to our weekday mortgage rates survey to bring you the most current rates available. Here you can see the latest marketplace average rates for a wide variety of purchase loans:

Current average mortgage interest rates
Loan type Interest rate A week ago Change
30-year fixed rate 3.02% 3.04% -0.02
15-year fixed rate 2.54% 2.55% -0.01
30-year fixed jumbo rate 3.06% 3.08% -0.02
30-year fixed refinance rate 3.13% 3.13% N/C

Updated on October 16, 2020.

Should you lock a mortgage rate?

A rate lock guarantees your interest rate for a specified period of time. It’s common for lenders to offer 30-day rate locks for a fee or to include the price of the rate lock into your loan. Some lenders will lock rates for longer periods, even exceeding 60 days, but those locks can be costly. In today’s volatile market, some lenders will lock an interest rate for only two weeks because they don’t want to take on unnecessary risk.

With a rate lock, if interest rates rise, you’re locked into the guaranteed rate. You may be able to find a lender that offers a floating rate lock. A floating rate lock lets you get a lower rate if interest rates decline before closing your loan. It could be worth the cost in a declining rate environment. Because mortgage rates are not predictable, there’s no guarantee that rates will stay where they are from week to week or even day to day. So, if you can lock in a low rate, then you should do so rather than gamble on interest rates falling even lower.

Keep in mind that during the pandemic, all aspects of real estate and mortgage closings are taking much longer than usual. Expect the closing on a new mortgage to take at least 60 days, and expect refinancing to take at least a month.

What causes mortgage rates to change

A number of economic factors influence mortgage rates. Among them are inflation and unemployment. Higher inflation typically leads to higher mortgage rates. The opposite is also true; when inflation is low, mortgage rates typically are as well. As inflation increases, the dollar loses value. That drives investors away from mortgage-backed securities (MBS), which causes the prices to decrease and yields to increase. When yields move higher, rates become more expensive for borrowers.

Generally speaking, when the economy is strong, more people buy homes. That drives demand for mortgages. Increased demand for mortgages can cause rates to increase. The opposite is also true; less demand can lead to lower rates.

Current mortgage rate environment

Mortgage rates have been volatile because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Generally, though, rates have been low. For a while, some lenders were increasing rates because they were struggling to deal with the demand. In general, however, rates are consistently below 4 percent and even dipping into the mid to low 3s. This is an especially good time for people with good to excellent credit to lock in a low rate for a purchase loan. However, lenders are also raising credit standards for borrowers and demanding higher down payments as they try to dampen their risks.

Methodology: The rates you see above are Bankrate.com Site Averages. These calculations are run after the close of the previous business day and include rates and/or yields we have collected that day for a specific banking product. Bankrate.com site averages tend to be volatile — they help consumers see the movement of rates day to day. The institutions included in the “Bankrate.com Site Average” tables will be different from one day to the next, depending on which institutions’ rates we gather on a particular day for presentation on the site.

To learn more about the different rate averages Bankrate publishes, see “Understanding Bankrate’s Rate Averages.”

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Learn more about specific loan type rates
Loan Type Purchase Rates Refinance Rates
The table above links out to loan-specific content to help our readers learn more about rates by loan type.
30-Year Loan Current 30 Year Mortgage Rates 30-Year Refinance Rates
20-Year Loan 20-Year Mortgage Interest Rates 20-Year Refinance Interest Rates
15-Year Loan 15-Year Mortgage Interest Rates 15-Year Refi Interest Rates
10-Year Loan Current 10 Year Mortgage Rates 10-Year Refinance Rates
FHA Loan FHA Mortgage Loan Rates FHA Mortgage Refi Rates
VA Loan VA Mortgage Interest Rates VA Refi Interest Rates
ARM Loan ARM Interest Rates ARM Refinance Interest Rates
Jumbo Loan Jumbo Mortgage Rates Jumbo Loan Refinance Rates