Today's mortgage and refinance rates: April 20, 2021 | Rates plummet

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Mortgage and refinance rates are down since last Tuesday and since this time last month.

If you’re ready to lock in a rate, you may want a fixed-rate mortgage rather than an adjustable rate. Fixed rates are starting much lower than adjustable rates, and you’ll pay the same low rate for the entire life of your loan. With an ARM, you’d risk a rate increase down the road.

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Mortgage rates will probably stay low for a while, so you don’t need to hurry to take advantage of low rates if you aren’t ready. But if you know you want to buy soon, you may want to start the process of applying for preapproval and locking in a rate. According to a study by Redfin, over half of homes in the US are selling in two weeks or less right now.

By having a preapproval letter in hand when you’re ready to buy, you can move fast when you find a home you like.

Mortgage rates for Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate today
15-year fixed2.51%
30-year fixed3.35%
7/1 ARM4.29%
10/1 ARM3.92%

Rates from Money.com

Learn more and get offers from multiple lenders.»

Mortgage rates are low overall today. You should be able to lock in a fixed rate well under 4%.

We’re showing you the national average rates for conventional mortgages, which might be what you think of “normal mortgages.” You may be able to get a lower rate on a government-backed mortgage through the FHA, VA, or USDA.

Refinance rates for Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate today
15-year fixed2.72%
30-year fixed3.68%
7/1 ARM4.58%
10/1 ARM4.54%

Rates from Money.com

Click here to compare offers from refinancing lenders »

In general, refinance rates are low. Refinance rates tend to be higher than mortgage purchase rates, though.

How to get the best mortgage rate

Mortgage and refinance rates are low, so it could be a great day to secure a rate. But you might not have to hurry to get a low rate.

Rates will likely remain low for the foreseeable future. You have time to boost your finances, which could result in a better interest rate. Consider the following steps:

  • Boost your credit score by paying your bills in a timely fashion. You could also pay down debts or let your credit age.
  • Put down a larger down paymentYou may need between 0% and 20% for a down payment, depending on which type of mortgage you want. But if you can pay more than the minimum, a lender might give you a better rate.
  • Lower your debt-to-income ratio. Your DTI ratio is the amount you pay toward debts each month, divided by your gross monthly income. Many lenders want to see a DTI ratio of 36% or less. Consider paying down debts more aggressively to get a better ratio.
  • Pick a government-backed mortgage. If you’re qualified, you may want to get a USDA loan (designed for low-to-moderate-income borrowers buying in a rural area), a VA loan (aimed at military members and veterans), or an FHA loan (not designated for any particular group). These loans frequently have lower interest rates than conventional mortgages. Additionally, you don’t need to make a down payment for USDA or VA loans.

You can lock in a low rate today if your finances are in a good place, but you don’t need to hurry to get a mortgage or refinance if you’re not ready.

Mortgage and refinance rates trends

Mortgage rate trends

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.51%2.60%2.69%
30-year fixed3.35%3.51%3.63%
7/1 ARM4.29%4.41%5.06%
10/1 ARM3.92%4.71%4.90%

Mortgage rates have decreased since last Tuesday and since this time last month. Although adjustable rates have dropped significantly, you’ll still get a better deal on a fixed-rate mortgage.

Refinance rate trends

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.72%2.82%3.03%
30-year fixed3.68%3.82%3.89%
7/1 ARM4.58%4.70%5.27%
10/1 ARM4.54%5.11%5.19%

Refinance rates have also gone down since last Tuesday. They’ve decreased even more since this time last month.

15-year fixed rates

If you get a 15-year fixed mortgage, it will take you a decade and a half to pay down your mortgage, and your interest rate will stay constant the whole time.

You’ll pay more per month with a 15-year term than a 30-year term because you’re repaying the same mortgage principal in half the time. 

However, a 15-year fixed mortgage will cost less overall than a 30-year fixed mortgage. It will take you fewer years to pay off your mortgage and you’ll get a lower interest rate to boot. 

30-year fixed rates

If you take out a 30-year fixed mortgage, it will take you three decades to pay off your mortgage, and you’ll pay a locked-in interest rate the entire period. A 30-year term comes with a higher interest rate than a 15-year term.

Your monthly payments will be lower with a 30-year fixed mortgage than with a shorter term because you’re splitting up your payments over more years.

But it will cost you more in interest with a 30-year term than with a shorter term, as you’re paying a higher interest rate for longer. 

Adjustable rates

An adjustable-rate mortgage, often called an ARM, will lock in your rate for a set period. Then your rate will change frequently. A 10/1 ARM keeps your rate constant for a decade, then your rate will fluctuate once per year. 

You might prefer a fixed-rate mortgage over an ARM, even though ARM rates are now at striking lows. The 30-year fixed rates are equal to or lower than ARM rates, so it could be a good opportunity to secure a low rate with a fixed mortgage. Additionally, you won’t risk an ARM rate increase in the future.

If you’re thinking about getting an ARM, ask your lender what your rates would be if you chose a fixed-rate versus an adjustable-rate mortgage.

Ensure you have a secure financial situation before getting a mortgage or refinancing. You still have time to rectify your financial portfolio, as rates will likely stay low for a while. 

Mortgage and refinance rates by state

Check the latest rates in your state at the links below. 

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
Washington DC
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Laura Grace Tarpley is an editor at Personal Finance Insider, covering mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. She is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF). Over her four years of covering personal finance, she has written extensively about ways to save, invest, and navigate loans.

Ryan Wangman is a reviews fellow at Personal Finance Insider reporting on mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. In his past experience writing about personal finance, he has written about credit scores, financial literacy, and homeownership.

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