Today’s mortgage rates for March 15, 2021: Major rates varied

March 15, 2021 0 By boss

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Mortgage rates followed a split path today. While 15-year fixed-rate mortgages saw average rates trend down, the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was flat. For variable rates, the 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage sunk lower. Mortgage interest rates are never set in stone, but interest rates are at historic lows. Because of this, right now is a great time for prospective homebuyers to get a fixed rate. But as always, make sure to first think about your personal goals and circumstances before purchasing a house, and shop around for a lender who can best meet your needs.

Find current mortgage rates for today

30-year fixed-rate mortgages

The average interest rate for a standard 30-year fixed mortgage is 3.23%, which is the same as seven days ago. (A basis point is equivalent to 0.01%.) The most common loan term is a 30-year fixed mortgage. A 30-year fixed rate mortgage will usually have a lower monthly payment than a 15-year one — but typically a higher interest rate. 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 2.49%, which is a decrease of 2 basis points from the same time last week. You’ll definitely have a larger 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. But a 15-year loan will usually be the better deal, if you can afford the monthly payments. You’ll typically get a lower interest rate, and you’ll pay less interest in total because you’re paying off your mortgage much quicker.

5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages

A 5/1 ARM has an average rate of 3.27%, a slide of 1 basis point from the same time last week. For the first five years, you’ll typically get a lower interest rate with a 5/1 ARM compared to a 30-year fixed mortgage. But you could end up paying more after that time, depending on the terms of your loan and how the rate adjusts with the market rate. If you plan to sell or refinance your house before the rate changes, an adjustable-rate mortgage may make sense for you. But if that’s not the case, you might be on the hook for a significantly 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:

Average mortgage interest rates

Product Rate Last week Change
30-year fixed 3.23% 3.23% N/C
15-year fixed 2.49% 2.51% -0.02
30-year jumbo mortgage rate 3.08% 2.98% +0.10
30-year mortgage refinance rate 3.31% 3.32% -0.01

Rates as of March 15, 2021.

How to shop for the best mortgage rate

To find a personalized mortgage rate, talk to your local mortgage broker or use an online mortgage service. When researching home mortgage rates, consider your goals and current financial situation. A range of factors — including your down payment, credit score, loan-to-value ratio and debt-to-income ratio — will all affect the interest rate on your mortgage. Generally, you want a good 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 factors such as fees, closing costs, taxes and discount points. You should talk to multiple lenders — including local and national banks, credit unions and online lenders — and comparison shop to find the best loan for you.

How does the loan term impact my mortgage?

One important thing to keep in mind when choosing a mortgage is the loan term, or payment schedule. The most common mortgage terms are 15 years and 30 years, although 10-, 20- and 40-year mortgages also exist. Mortgages are further divided into fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. For fixed-rate mortgages, interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan. Unlike a fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rates for an adjustable-rate mortgage are only set for a certain amount of time (most frequently five, seven or 10 years). After that, the rate adjusts annually based on the current interest rate in the market. 

 When choosing between a fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage, you should consider how long you plan to stay in your home. Fixed-rate mortgages might be a better fit if you plan on living in your new home for some time. Fixed-rate mortgages offer greater stability over time in comparison to adjustable-rate mortgages, but adjustable-rate mortgages may offer lower interest rates upfront. If you aren’t planning to keep your new home for more than three to 10 years, however, an adjustable-rate mortgage may give you a better deal. The “best” loan term depends on your situation and goals, so be sure to think about what’s important 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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