karamysh/Shutterstock

karamysh/Shutterstock

Several key mortgage rates receded today. The average rates on 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed mortgages both declined. The average rate on 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages, meanwhile, notched higher.

Mortgage rates are in a constant state of flux, but they continue to represent a bargain compared to rates before the Great Recession. If you’re in the market for a mortgage, it may 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.

Find the right mortgage rate for your specific criteria.

30-year fixed mortgages

The average rate for the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage is 3.54 percent, down 2 basis points over the last seven days. Last month on the 21st, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was higher, at 3.57 percent.

At the current average rate, you’ll pay a combined $451.28 per month in principal and interest for every $100,000 you borrow. That’s a decline of $1.12 from last week.

You can use Bankrate’s mortgage rate calculator to get a handle on what your monthly payments would be and see how much you’ll save by adding extra payments. It will also help you calculate how much interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.

15-year fixed mortgages

The average 15-year fixed-mortgage rate is 2.90 percent, down 10 basis points since the same time last week.

Monthly payments on a 15-year fixed mortgage at that rate will cost around $686 per $100,000 borrowed. Yes, that payment is much bigger than it would be on a 30-year mortgage, 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 rapidly.

5/1 ARMs

The average rate on a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgageis 3.32 percent, rising 1 basis point over the last week.

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

Monthly payments on a 5/1 ARM at 3.32 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 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 3.54% 3.56% -0.02
15-year fixed rate 2.90% 3.00% -0.10
30-year fixed jumbo rate 3.67% 3.67% N/C
30-year fixed refinance rate 3.59% 3.64% -0.05

Updated on May 21, 2020.

Should you lock a mortgage rate?

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, even exceeding 60 days, but those locks can be expensive. 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 there is no guarantee of where mortgage rates will head in the future, it may be smart to lock in a low rate instead of holding out on rates for potentially decline further.

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.

What causes mortgage rates to move

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.

What are current mortgage rates?

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 average rates.”

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

Check rates for specific loan types
Product Purchase Rates Refinance Rates
The table above links out to loan-specific pages to help our readers learn more about rates by loan type.
30-Year Loan Today’s 30-Year Mortgage Rates 30-Year Refinance Interest Rates
20-Year Loan Current 20 Year Mortgage Rates 20-Year Refi Rates
15-Year Loan Current 15 Year Mortgage Rates Current 15-Year Refinance Rates
10-Year Loan 10-Year Mortgage Interest Rates 10-Year Refi Interest Rates
FHA Loan Current FHA Mortgage Rates FHA Refinance Rates
VA Loan Current VA Mortgage Rates VA Mortgage Refinance Rates
ARM Loan ARM Mortgage Rates Current ARM Refinance Rates
Jumbo Loan Jumbo Loan Interest Rates Jumbo Refinance Rates