Bernadette Gatsby/Unsplash

Bernadette Gatsby/Unsplash

Mortgage rates showed no clear direction today, but one key rate was higher. The average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage climbed higher, but the average rate on a 15-year fixed receded. Meanwhile, the average rate on 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages held firm.

Rates for mortgages change daily, but they remain much lower overall than they were before the Great Recession. If you’re in the market for a mortgage, it could make sense to go ahead and lock if you see a rate you like. Just make sure you’ve looked around for the best rate first.

Compare mortgage interest rates from lenders across the nation.

30-year fixed mortgages

The average rate for the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage is 3.58 percent, an increase of 6 basis points over the last week. A month ago, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was lower, at 3.56 percent.

At the current average rate, you’ll pay a combined $453.52 per month in principal and interest for every $100,000 you borrow. That’s an increase of $3.36 over what you would have paid last week.

You can use Bankrate’s home loan calculator to get a handle on what your monthly payments would be and see the effect of adding extra payments. 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 2.88 percent, down 5 basis points since the same time last week.

Monthly payments on a 15-year fixed mortgage at that rate will cost around $685 per $100,000 borrowed. That may put more pressure on your monthly budget than a 30-year mortgage would, but it comes with some big advantages: You’ll come out several thousand dollars ahead 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 ARM is 3.31 percent, unchanged since the same time last week.

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

Monthly payments on a 5/1 ARM at 3.31 percent would cost about $439 for each $100,000 borrowed over the initial five years, but could climb hundreds of dollars higher 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 trends page.

Want to see where rates are at this moment? Lenders across the nation 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 3.58% 3.52% +0.06
15-year fixed rate 2.88% 2.93% -0.05
30-year fixed jumbo rate 3.72% 3.63% +0.09
30-year fixed refinance rate 3.65% 3.59% +0.06

Updated on May 25, 2020.

Rate lock advice and recommendations

A rate lock guarantees your interest rate for a specified period of time. Lenders often offer 30-day rate locks for a nominal fee or roll the price of the lock into your loan. Some lenders will lock rates for longer periods, sometimes for more than 60 days, but those locks can be pricey. 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.

The benefit of a rate lock is that 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.

Remember: 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, with refinancing taking at least a month.

Why mortgage rates 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.

A strong economy usually means more people buying homes, which drives demand for mortgages. This increased demand can push rates higher. The opposite is also true; less demand can trigger a drop in rates.

Current mortgage rate landscape

Mortgage rates have been volatile because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Generally, though, rates have been low. Mortgage rates are rising and falling from week to week, as lenders are inundated with forbearance and refinance requests. 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 average rates.”

Searching for a mortgage lender? See Bankrate’s mortgage lender reviews.

See rates for a variety of loan types
Loan term Purchase Rates Refinance Rates
The index 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 Current 20-Year Refinance Rates
15-Year Loan Current 15 Year Mortgage Rates 15-Year Refinance Rates
10-Year Loan 10-Year Mortgage Interest Rates Current 10-Year Refinance Rates
FHA Loan FHA Loan Interest Rates FHA Mortgage Refi Rates
VA Loan VA Loan Rates VA Refinance Loan Rates
ARM Loan ARM Mortgage Rates Current ARM Refinance Rates
Jumbo Loan Jumbo Loan Interest Rates Jumbo Mortgage Refinance Rates