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Compare current VA loan rates

On Tuesday, February 20, 2024, the national average 30-year VA loan APR is 6.72%. The average 30-year VA refinance APR is 6.95%, according to Bankrate's ... latest survey of the nation's largest mortgage lenders.

What is a VA loan?

VA home loans are mortgages guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA. They are available to eligible current or former members of the military and surviving spouses.

Compared to other types of loans, VA mortgages are especially accessible since they don’t require a down payment or mortgage insurance. Other low-down payment loans typically require mortgage insurance if the borrower puts down less than 20 percent.

VA loans do, however, require you to pay a funding fee. This cost can be paid upfront at closing or folded into the loan (which means you’ll pay interest on it).

VA loan eligibility requirements

To be eligible for a VA loan:

  • You’re currently on active military duty or a veteran who was honorably discharged and met the minimum service requirements;
  • You served at least 90 consecutive active days during wartime or at least 181 consecutive days of active service during peacetime; or
  • You served for more than six years in the National Guard or Selective Reserve.

In addition, if your spouse died in the line of duty, you might qualify for a VA loan.

If you meet these requirements, you’ll next need to obtain your COE. You can request this online, by mail or through your VA mortgage lender.

Benefits of VA loans for service members

A VA loan helps eligible members of the armed forces more easily buy, build or make renovations to a home. That’s because unlike other types of mortgages, you don’t need to put any money down to obtain a VA loan.

Along with no down payment, you won’t need to pay for mortgage insurance on a VA loan, either. Compare this to conventional and FHA loans, which require these premiums if your down payment is less than 20 percent.

Another appealing feature of VA loans: You might be able to qualify even if your credit needs work. The VA doesn’t require you to have a certain minimum credit score (although many lenders look for at least 620). Some lenders offer free credit counseling services, too, to help you get approved for a loan.

Lastly, VA loans often carry lower interest rates. Over a 30-year, this can make a significant difference in the amount of interest you’ll pay, as well as the total cost of the mortgage.

VA loans vs. conventional loans

Both a VA loan and a conventional loan provide home financing. VA loans don’t require a down payment; conventional loans require at least 3 percent down. With a conventional loan, however, you can buy a primary residence (the home you’ll live in), an investment property or vacation home. The same doesn’t apply to VA loans, which can only be used to finance primary residences.

Here’s an example of the costs associated with a VA loan versus a 30-year fixed loan. Keep in mind interest rates are dependent on the market and the borrower's creditworthiness.

30-year fixed VA loan 30-year fixed conventional loan
Home price $391,800 $391,800
Loan amount $391,800 (0% down payment) $380,046 (3% down payment)
Interest rate 6.37% 7.27%
Monthly payment (Principal and interest) $2,443 $2,597
Monthly mortgage insurance $0 $475
Total monthly payment $2,443 $3,072
Total interest $487,725 $555,828
Total mortgage insurance $0 $67,711
Total cost $879,525 $1,003,585
Note: Interest rates as of Dec. 14, 2023. Conventional loan assumes 1.5 percent annually in private mortgage insurance premiums. Calculation does not include VA funding fee, homeowners insurance, property taxes or HOA fees.

What factors determine my VA interest rate?

The interest rate on a VA mortgage depends on many variables, including:

  • Credit score: Unlike other mortgage products, the VA doesn’t require a minimum credit score to qualify for a VA loan — but the lender you borrow from might. Many VA lenders look for a score of at least 620.
  • Loan term: Shorter-term loans typically have lower interest rates, which reduces your overall cost, but your monthly payments will be higher. By contrast, longer-term loans have higher rates, but lower monthly payments.
  • Current market conditions: Broad economic trends, such as inflation, also impact mortgage rates.
  • Lender: The lender you work with sets its own rate based on profit margin and other factors. 

Lender compare

Compare mortgage lenders side by side

Mortgage rates and fees can vary widely across lenders. To help you find the right one for your needs, use this tool to compare lenders based on a variety of factors. Bankrate has reviewed and partners with these lenders, and the two lenders shown first have the highest combined Bankrate Score and customer ratings. You can use the drop downs to explore beyond these lenders and find the best option for you.

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Garden State Home Loans

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Homefinity

NMLS: 2289

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
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Rating: 4.94 stars out of 5

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VA loan FAQ