Fancy house with today's mortgage rates graphics.

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Mortgage rates have been relatively stable in recent weeks, which is good news for borrowers since they continue to remain near record lows. Today, while rates ticked up very slightly, borrowers will still find very competitive mortgage rates that are well worth locking in. Here’s what you need to know about average mortgage rates for Oct. 12.

Mortgage Type Today’s Interest Rate
30-year fixed mortgage 2.908%
20-year fixed mortgage 2.758%
15-year fixed mortgage 2.374%
5/1 ARM 3.336%

Data source: The Ascent’s national mortgage interest rate tracking.

30-year mortgage rates

The average 30-year mortgage rate today is 2.908%, up .005% from Friday’s average rate of 2.903%. Rates below 3.00% used to be unheard of, but have become the norm in recent weeks. At today’s average rate, your monthly payment for principal and interest would total $417 per $100,000 borrowed and total interest costs over the loan’s life would be $49,997 per $100,000 in mortgage debt.

Check out The Ascent’s mortgage calculator to see what your monthly payment might be and how much your loan will ultimately cost. Also learn how much money you’d save by snagging a lower interest rate, making a larger down payment, or choosing a shorter loan term.

20-year mortgage rates

The average 20-year mortgage rate today is 2.758%, up .006% from Friday’s average of 2.752%. The monthly payment for principal and interest if you qualify for a loan at today’s average rate would be $543 per $100,000 in mortgage debt, while total interest costs would add up to $30,215 per $100,000 over the life of the loan.

Savvy borrowers will notice that while the interest rate is a bit below the rate on a 30-year loan, monthly payments are much higher. This occurs due to the faster repayment timeline, which also explains why total interest costs over the life of the loan are so much lower.

15-year mortgage rates

The average 15-year mortgage rate today is 2.374%, up .005% from Friday’s average of 2.369%. The monthly principal and interest payment per $100,000 in debt would be $661 at today’s average rate, with total interest costs coming in at $18,957 per $100,000 over the life of the loan.

Just as with the 20-year, the lower interest rate doesn’t mean the monthly payments on a 15-year loan are more affordable. In fact, they are much higher due to the fact you’re paying off the loan 15 years earlier than with a 30-year mortgage. The interest savings afforded by early repayment is substantial though, and it also means you’ll be debt free much sooner if you can afford to make the higher monthly payments.

5/1 ARMs

The average 5/1 ARM rate is 3.336%, up .045% from Friday’s average rate of 3.291%. Unlike a 30-year fixed-rate loan, this initial interest rate on a 5/1 ARM is locked in only for five years, after which it can adjust once annually.

The possibility that rates could rise is high, due to the fact they are currently near record lows, so a 5/1 ARM presents an outsized risk right now. Taking a chance of rising rates can make sense when the initial interest rate is below the rate on a 30-year loan, but this is not currently the case, so borrowers will likely want to pass on an adjustable-rate loan.

Should I lock my mortgage rate now?

A mortgage rate lock guarantees you a certain interest rate for a specified period of time — usually 30 days, but you may be able to secure your rate for up to 60 days. You’ll generally pay a fee to lock in your mortgage rate, but that way, you’re protected in case rates climb between now and when you actually close on your mortgage.

If you plan to close on your home within the next 30 days, then it pays to lock in your mortgage rate based on today’s rates — especially since they’re so competitive. But if your closing is more than 30 days away, you may want to choose a floating rate lock instead for what will usually be a higher fee, but one that could save you money in the long run. A floating rate lock lets you secure a lower rate on your mortgage if rates fall prior to your closing, and while today’s rates are still quite low, we don’t know if rates will go up or down over the next few months. As such, it pays to:

  • LOCK if closing in 7 days
  • LOCK if closing in 15 days
  • LOCK if closing in 30 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 45 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 60 days

Borrowers should check out their loan rates and terms with several of the best mortgage lenders before locking in to make sure they are being offered the most competitive rate possible. Since mortgages are a large debt paid off over a long time, even small differences in rates can be worth thousands in interest costs, so shopping around is worth the effort.

Methodology

The Ascent team partners with market-leading data provider Optimal Blue to track the seven-day average of daily mortgage rates that actual borrowers are locking in nationwide. Learn more about our mortgage rates tracking methodology.

Today’s Best Mortgage Rates

Chances are, mortgage rates won’t stay put at multi-decade lows for much longer. That’s why taking action today is crucial, whether you’re wanting to refinance and cut your mortgage payment or you’re ready to pull the trigger on a new home purchase. Click here to get started by scanning the market for your best rate.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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