Today’s Mortgage and Refinance Rate: August 15, 2021


Mortgage and refinance rates are generally low today, so this could be a good day to lock in a low rate.

We show the national average mortgage rates. Your exact rate will depend on where you live, so take a look at the map below.

Your mortgage rate will also depend on your finances and the type of mortgage you get. But overall, mortgage rates are at historically low levels.

Current mortgage rates conventional rates; RedVentures government guaranteed rates.

Current refinancing rates conventional rates; RedVentures government guaranteed rates.

How are mortgage rates determined?

Mortgage rates are largely determined by the economy. Rates are higher when the US economy is booming and lower when it is struggling.

Employment and inflation are the two main economic factors influencing mortgage rates. When the number of jobs and inflation increase, mortgage rates tend to follow.

However, you have some power over your mortgage rate. Here are the factors you can control:

  • Credit score. The higher your credit rating, the lower your mortgage rate should be. To improve your score, focus on paying all of your bills on time and paying off your debts.
  • Debt-to-income ratio. Your DTI ratio is the amount you pay for your debts each month divided by your gross monthly income. The lower your DTI ratio, the better. The minimum DTI ratio depends on the lender and the type of mortgage you get, but it typically ranges from 36% to 50%. If your ratio is still below the lender’s minimum, you might get a better interest rate.
  • Deposit. Depending on the type of mortgage you get, you may need 0% to 20% for a down payment. If you can place more than the minimum down payment, you will likely get a lower rate.
  • Type of mortgage. Compliant mortgage rates (which you probably call “regular mortgages”) are already low right now. You will pay less on a mortgage loan guaranteed by the government through the FHA, VA or USDA. You will pay a higher rate on a jumbo mortgage.
  • Duration of the mortgage. The shorter the term of your mortgage, the lower your rate will be. For example, you will pay less on a 15-year term than on a 30-year term. Keep in mind that your monthly payments will be higher in the shorter term, however.

When to lock in a mortgage rate

It’s usually a good idea to lock in your mortgage rate when you’re ready to start shopping for a home.

To lock in your rate, apply for pre-approval from a lender. After you receive your pre-approval letter, your rate is typically blocked for 60-90 days.

It helps to get a pre-approval letter before you bid on a home. Showing the seller a pre-approval letter indicates that you are a competitive buyer who is in good financial health, and it could give your application a leg up on other offers.


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