Today's mortgage and refinance rates: March 21, 2021 | Rates shoot up

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Since last Sunday, mortgage and refinance rates have increased, with mortgage rates for 10/1 ARMs going up by a staggering 61 basis points. That said, rates remain at all-time lows. 

You may want to go after a fixed-rate mortgage instead of an adjustable-rate mortgage if you’re looking to get a mortgage or a refinance. Of late, fixed-rate mortgages are a better deal than adjustable-rate mortgages because ARM rates start higher, and your rate may go up down the line. 

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Mortgage rates for Sunday, March 21, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.68%2.57%2.43%
30-year fixed3.63%3.48%3.26%
7/1 ARM4.7%4.28%4.33%
10/1 ARM4.61%4%4.03%

Rates from Money.com

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Since last Sunday, mortgage rates have rocketed up, with both 7/1 and 10/1 ARM rates increasing by at least 40 basis points. You can still lock in a fixed mortgage rate for under 4%. 

We’re displaying the average rates nationwide for conventional mortgages, which may be what you consider “standard mortgages.” Government-backed mortgages through the FHA, VA, or USDA may grant you an improved rate — provided you’re eligible. 

Refinance rates for Sunday, March 21, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed3.01%2.88%2.76%
30-year fixed3.9%3.79%3.68%
7/1 ARM4.88%4.41%4.72%
10/1 ARM4.85%4.46%4.49%

Rates from Money.com

Click here to compare offers from refinance lenders »

Refinance rates for all mortgages have increased since last week. Rates have also ticked up from this point last month.

Refinance rates remain exceptionally low overall. Low rates commonly indicate an economy in distress. As the US continues to deal with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, rates will likely stay low.

Best ways to get a low mortgage rate

Since last Sunday, fixed and adjustable mortgage rates have gone up across the board. Still, they’re at historic lows, and you may consider locking in a low mortgage rate today. 

You don’t necessarily need to rush, though. Rates will likely stay reasonably low for months, if not years. You probably have time to better your financial situation and lock in a better rate. Consider the following steps:

  • Boost your credit score by making timely payments or paying down debt. You can ask for a copy of your credit report to look for any errors that could be hurting your score.
  • Save more for a down paymentThe minimum down payment you’ll need is contingent on which type of mortgage you are after. But if you can put down more than the minimum, you’ll likely get 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. To improve your ratio, pay down debts or seek opportunities to boost your income. 
  • Pick a government-backed mortgage. You might think about a USDA loan (directed at low-to-moderate-income borrowers buying in a rural area), a VA loan (designed for military members and veterans), or an FHA loan (not designated for any particular group). Government-backed mortgages frequently come with better interest rates than conventional mortgages. As a bonus, down payments aren’t needed for USDA or VA loans.

If you’re financially ready, you can secure a great rate — but there’s no need to hurry. 

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How 15-year fixed mortgages work

If you get a 15-year fixed mortgage, it will take you a decade and a half to pay off your loan and your interest rate will remain locked in the whole time.

A 15-year fixed mortgage will cost less overall than a 30-year term. You’ll get a lower interest rate and you’ll pay off the mortgage in half the time, which will save you years of interest payments.

On the other hand, your monthly payments will be higher with a 15-year term than with a 30-year term, as you’ll pay off the same loan principal in half of the time. 

How 30-year fixed mortgages work

With a 30-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay off your mortgage over 30 years, and you’ll pay the same interest rate for the life of the loan. A 30-year term has a higher interest rate than a shorter term.

You’ll cough up more in interest with a 30-year fixed mortgage than with a 15-year fixed mortgage, as you’re paying a higher interest rate for an extended period. 

On the flip side, you’ll pay less per month with a 30-year term than with a 15-year fixed term because you’re dividing your payments over more years. 

How ARMs work

A fixed-rate mortgage secures your rate for your entire loan period. But with an adjustable-rate mortgage, you’ll pay a constant rate for a predetermined period, then that rate will change periodically. A 10/1 ARM locks in your rate for a decade. Then your rate will fluctuate annually.

ARM rates are now at all-time lows, but you might still want to go for a fixed-rate mortgage. You can escape the hassle of a rate increase down the line with an ARM and secure a low rate for 15 or 30 years. 

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

While you can lock in a low rate now, you should be financially prepared before doing so. 

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

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.

Laura Grace Tarpley is the associate editor of banking and mortgages 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.

See the mortgage rates for Sunday, March 21 »

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