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Mortgage rates have shifted since last Wednesday and last month — some rates are a little lower, while others are a little higher. In general, it’s a good day to lock in a low rate.

If you’re ready a home to buy or refinance, you’ll probably want a fixed-rate mortgage rather than an adjustable-rate mortgage. ARM rates are starting higher than fixed rates right now, and you’d risk your rate increasing even more in a few years. It’s safer to lock in an all-time low rate while you can.

Today’s mortgage rates

Mortgage type
Average rate today

15-year fixed
2.44%

30-year fixed
3.38%

7/1 ARM
4.16%

10/1 ARM
3.97%

30-year FHA
2.85%

VA mortgage loan
2.74%

Today’s refinance rates

Mortgage type
Average rate today

15-year fixed
2.63%

30-year fixed
3.76%

7/1 ARM
4.44%

10/1 ARM
4.34%

30-year FHA
2.85%

VA mortgage loan
2.76%

What is a mortgage rate?

A mortgage rate is the interest you pay on the money you borrow from a lender to buy or refinance your home. It’s basically the fee you pay for borrowing, expressed as a percentage. For example, you may take out a $200,000 mortgage, plus a 2.75% interest rate.

There are two types of mortgage rates: fixed and adjustable.

A fixed-rate mortgage locks in your rate for the entire length of your mortgage. Even if rates in the US market increase or decrease, your rate will stay the same. This is an especially great deal right now, as rates are at historic lows.

An adjustable-rate mortgage keeps your rate the same for a predetermined amount of time, then changes it periodically. A 10/1 ARM locks in your rate for the first 10 years, then the rate fluctuates once per year. This is a riskier approach these days, because ARM rates are starting higher than fixed rates, and you risk your rate going up later.

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How are mortgage rates determined?

Mortgage rates are determined by a combination of factors — some you can control, and some you can’t.

The main external factor is the economy. Interest rates tend to be higher when the US economy is thriving and lower when it’s struggling. The two main economic factors that impact mortgage rates are employment and inflation. When employment numbers and inflation go up, mortgage rates tend to increase.

You can control your finances, though. The better your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and down payment, the lower your rate should be.

Finally, your mortgage rate relies on what type of mortgage you get. Government-backed mortgages (like FHA, VA, and USDA loans) charge the lowest rates, while jumbo mortgages charge the highest rates. You’ll also get a lower rate with a shorter mortgage term.

What credit score do you need for a mortgage?

Each type of mortgage has a different minimum credit score requirement. Here’s how it typically breaks down:

Conforming: 620

Jumbo: 700

FHA: 580 (or 500 if you have at least a 10% down payment)

…read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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