Mortgage interest rates today for March 18, 2021: Rates move higher

March 18, 2021 0 By boss

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A couple of principal mortgage rates marched higher today. Average 15-year fixed mortgage rates stayed the same, while average 30-year fixed mortgage rates inched up. At the same time, average rates for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages were raised. Mortgage interest rates are never set in stone, but interest rates are historically low. Because of this, right now is an ideal time for prospective homebuyers to secure a fixed rate. But as always, make sure to first think about your personal goals and circumstances before buying a house, and shop around to find a lender who can best meet your needs.

Compare national mortgage rates from various lenders

30-year fixed-rate mortgages

The average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate is 3.25%, which is an increase of 4 basis points from one week ago. (A basis point is equivalent to 0.01%.) The most common loan term is a 30-year fixed mortgage. A 30-year fixed mortgage will usually have a greater interest rate than a 15-year fixed rate mortgage — but also a lower monthly payment. Although you’ll pay more interest over time — you’re paying off your loan over a longer timeframe — if you’re looking for a lower monthly payment, a 30-year fixed mortgage may be a good option.

15-year fixed-rate mortgages

The average rate for a 15-year, fixed mortgage is 2.48%, which is the same rate compared to a week ago. You’ll definitely have a bigger monthly payment with a 15-year fixed mortgage compared to a 30-year fixed mortgage, even if the interest rate and loan amount are the same. However, if you can afford the monthly payments, there are several benefits to a 15-year loan. These include usually being able to get a lower interest rate, paying off your mortgage sooner, and paying less total interest in the long run.

5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages

A 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage has an average rate of 3.28%, a climb of 3 basis points compared to last week. You’ll usually get a lower interest rate (compared to a 30-year fixed mortgage) with a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage in the first five years of the mortgage. But shifts in the market may cause your interest rate to increase after that time, as detailed in the terms of your loan. If you plan to sell or refinance your house before the rate changes, an ARM could be a good option. But if that’s not the case, you could be on the hook for a much higher interest rate if the market rates shift.

Mortgage rate trends

We use data collected by Bankrate, which is owned by the same parent company as CNET, to track changes in these daily rates. This table summarizes the average rates offered by lenders across the country:

Today’s mortgage interest rates

Loan term Today’s Rate Last week Change
30-year mortgage rate 3.25% 3.21% +0.04
15-year fixed rate 2.48% 2.48% N/C
30-year jumbo mortgage rate 3.12% 3.06% +0.06
30-year mortgage refinance rate 3.34% 3.28% +0.06

Rates accurate as of March 18, 2021.

How to find the best mortgage rates

To find a personalized mortgage rate, talk to your local mortgage broker or use an online mortgage service. Make sure to take into account your current financial situation and your goals when trying to find a mortgage. Things that affect what the interest rate you might get on your mortgage include: your credit score, down payment, loan-to-value ratio and your debt-to-income ratio. Generally, you want a higher credit score, a higher down payment, a lower DTI and a lower LTV to get a lower interest rate. The interest rate isn’t the only factor that affects the cost of your home. Be sure to also consider other costs such as fees, closing costs, taxes and discount points. Make sure to comparison shop with multiple lenders — like credit unions and online lenders in addition to local and national banks — in order to get a mortgage loan that’s right for you.

How does the loan term impact my mortgage?

One important thing to consider when choosing a mortgage is the loan term, or payment schedule. The most common loan terms are 15 years and 30 years, although 10-, 20- and 40-year mortgages also exist. Another important distinction is between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. The interest rates in a fixed-rate mortgage are set for the duration of the loan. Unlike a fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rates for an adjustable-rate mortgage are only stable for a certain amount of time (commonly five, seven or 10 years). After that, the rate fluctuates annually based on the market rate. 

When deciding between a fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage, you should think about the length of time you plan to live in your house. Fixed-rate mortgages might be a better fit for people who plan on staying in your new home for quite some time. Fixed-rate mortgages offer more stability over time compared to adjustable-rate mortgages, but adjustable-rate mortgages may offer lower interest rates upfront. If you don’t have plans to keep your new house for more than three to 10 years, however, an adjustable-rate mortgage could give you a better deal. There is no “best” loan term as a rule of thumb; it all depends on your goals and your current financial situation. Make sure to do your research and know what matters to you when choosing a mortgage.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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