The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is over half a percentage point lower now than it was two weeks ago. Rates have been volatile in recent weeks, but have generally trended down as markets prepare for a possible recession.The Federal Reserve has been raising the federal funds rate to try to tame inflation, and many now fear that it won’t be able to do so without slowing the economy too much.Some have even speculated that we’re already in a recession, pointing to the fact that the gross domestic product has fallen two quarters in a row. But on Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the US added 528,000 jobs in July, which was well above what many economists had been expecting.Mortgage rates may remain volatile as the results of the Fed rate hikes continue to play out.Current mortgage ratesCurrent refinance ratesMortgage calculatorUse our free mortgage calculator to see how today’s mortgage rates would impact your monthly payments. By plugging in different rates and term lengths, you’ll also understand how much you’ll pay over the entire length of your mortgage.
Your estimated monthly payment
Paying a 25% higher down payment would save you $8,916.08 on interest charges
Lowering the interest rate by 1% would save you $51,562.03
Paying an additional $500 each month would reduce the loan length by 146 months
Click “More details” for tips on how to save money on your mortgage in the long run.30-year fixed mortgage ratesThe current average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 4.99%, according to Freddie Mac. This is a decrease from last week, when it was at 5.3%, and the second week in a row this rate has gone down.The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the most common type of home loan. With this type of mortgage, you’ll pay back what you borrowed over 30 years, and your interest rate won’t change for the life of the loan.The lengthy 30-year term allows you to spread out your payments over a long period of time, meaning you can keep your monthly payments lower and more manageable. The trade-off is that you’ll have a higher rate than you would with shorter terms or adjustable rates. 15-year fixed mortgage ratesThe average 15-year fixed mortgage rate is 4.26%, a decrease from the prior week, according to Freddie Mac data. This is the second consecutive week this rate has decreased.If you want the predictability that comes with a fixed rate but are looking to spend less on interest over the life of your loan, a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage might be a good fit for you. Because these terms are shorter and have lower rates than 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, you could potentially save tens of thousands of dollars in interest. However, you’ll have a higher monthly payment than you would with a longer term.5/1 adjustable mortgage ratesThe average 5/1 adjustable mortgage rate is 4.25%, a slight decrease from the previous week. This is the third week in a row this rate has dropped.Adjustable rate mortgages can look very attractive to borrowers when rates are high, because the rates on these mortgages are typically lower than fixed mortgage rates. A 5/1 ARM is a 30-year mortgage. For the first five years, you’ll have a fixed rate. After that, your rate will adjust once per year. If rates are higher when your rate adjusts, you’ll have a higher monthly payment than what you started with.If you’re considering an ARM, make sure you understand how much your rate could go up each time it adjusts and how much it could ultimately increase over the life of the loan.Are mortgage rates going up?Mortgage rates started ticking up from historic lows in the second half of 2021 and have increased significantly so far in 2022. More recently, rates have been relatively volatile.In the last 12 months, the Consumer Price Index rose by 9.1%. The Federal Reserve has been working to get inflation under control, and plans to increase the federal funds target rate three more times this year, following increases in March, May, June, and July.Though not directly tied to the federal funds rate, mortgage rates are sometimes pushed up as a result of Fed rate hikes and investor expectations of how those hikes will impact the economy. If inflation remains elevated, mortgage rates may stay at their current levels or even trend up. But as a recession becomes more likely, mortgage rates could fall. How do I find personalized mortgage rates?Some mortgage lenders let you customize your mortgage rate on their websites by entering your down payment amount, zip code, and credit score. The resulting rate isn’t set in stone, but it can give you an idea of what you’ll pay.If you’re ready to start shopping for homes, you may apply for preapproval with a lender. The lender does a hard credit pull and looks at the details of your finances to lock in a mortgage rate.How do I compare mortgage rates between lenders?You can apply for prequalification with multiple lenders. A lender takes a general look at your finances and gives you an estimate of the rate you’ll pay.If you’re farther along in the homebuying process, you have the option to apply for preapproval with several lenders, not just one company. By receiving letters from more than one lender, you can compare personalized rates.Applying for preapproval requires a hard credit pull. Try to apply with multiple lenders within a few weeks, because lumping all of your hard credit pulls into the same chunk of time will hurt your credit score less.
Laura Grace Tarpley, CEPF
Personal Finance Reviews Editor