Today's mortgage and refinance rates: March 4, 2021 | Rates decline

Since last Thursday, most mortgage and refinance rates have gone down, and rates remain at historic lows. 

You might want to move soon to secure a low rate on a fixed-rate mortgage, given you have your finances prepared. 

Mat Ishbia, CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, told Insider that adjustable-rate mortgages probably aren’t as beneficial to borrowers as fixed-rate mortgages.

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In the past, ARM rates started lower than fixed rates, and there was the chance your ARM rate could go down in the future. Currently, Ishbia said fixed rates are lower than adjustable rates. 

Refinance rates on Thursday, March 4, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.79%2.89%2.58%
30-year fixed3.77%3.85%3.47%
7/1 ARM4.68%4.63%4.19%
10/1 ARM4.57%4.74%4.22%

Rates from Money.com

Since last Thursday, refinance rates for fixed-rate mortgages and 10/1 ARMs have gone down, while 7/1 ARM rates have increased slightly. However, all refinance rates have ticked up since last month.

Overall, refinance rates remain at striking lows. Low rates are frequently an indicator of an economy in distress. As the US continues to face the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, refinance rates will probably stay low.

Mortgage rates on Thursday, March 4, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.49%2.55%2.33%
30-year fixed3.38%3.41%3.11%
7/1 ARM4.32%4.26%3.86%
10/1 ARM4.03%4.11%3.82%

Rates from Money.com

Most mortgage rates have fallen marginally since last week. Only rates for 7/1 ARMs have risen. You can lock in a fixed mortgage refinance rate for less than 3.5% today. 

We’re showing you the average rates nationwide for conventional mortgages, which may be what you consider “standard mortgages.” You may be qualified for a better rate with a government-backed mortgage through the FHA, VA, or USDA.

Top tips to get a low mortgage rate

Nearly all fixed and adjustable mortgage rates have decreased since last Thursday, and they are still at all-time lows. Today could be the perfect time to secure a low mortgage rate. 

At the same, a rate increase in the near future is probably unlikely, so you don’t need to rush. Rates will likely stay low for several months if not longer. You have the chance to boost your financial profile and get an improved rate. 

To get the best possible rate, consider these steps before applying:  

  • Increase your credit scoreThe most important way to bolster your credit score is to make payments on time. You might also consider paying off debts or letting your credit age. 
  • Save more for a down payment.  You may be able to put down as little as 3% if you’re aiming for a conventional mortgage, but the smallest amount will depend on which type of mortgage you want. You’ll probably receive a better rate with a larger down payment.
  • Lower your debt-to-income ratio. Your DTI ratio is the amount you pay toward debts each month, divided by your gross monthly income. You can improve your rate by lowering your ratio. To improve your ratio, pay down debts or seek opportunities to boost your income. 
  • Choose a federally-backed mortgage. Qualified borrowers might think about a USDA loan (designed for low-to-moderate income borrowers buying in a rural area), a VA loan (intended for military members and veterans), or an FHA loan (not designated for any particular group). These loans frequently come with lower interest rates than conventional mortgages. Additionally, a down payment isn’t required for USDA or VA loans.

If your finances are in order, now may be an excellent opportunity to lock in a low rate on a mortgage or refinance. 

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15-year fixed mortgage rates

If you get 15-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay the same interest rate over the 15 years it will take you to pay down your loan.

You’ll dole out higher monthly payments with a 15-year fixed mortgage than a 30-year fixed mortgage because you’re paying off the equivalent loan principal over fewer years. 

On the other hand, a 15-year term will cost less than a longer term. You’ll receive a lower interest rate and you’ll pay off your mortgage in half the time. 

30-year fixed mortgage rates

With a 30-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay down your mortgage over three decades, and you’ll pay a locked-in interest rate the whole time.

You’ll pay more in total interest with a 30-year fixed mortgage than a shorter term because you’re paying a higher interest rate for an extended amount of time. 

However, you’ll fork over smaller monthly payments with a 30-year term than a 15-year term because you’re dividing up your payments over a longer period. 

Adjustable mortgage rates

An adjustable-rate mortgage, usually referred to as an ARM, will lock in your rate for the first several years and then regularly change it. A 10/1 ARM secures your rate for a decade. Then, your rate will fluctuate annually. 

Though ARM rates are currently at all-time lows, a fixed-rate mortgage might still be the best deal. You can secure a low rate for 15 or 30 years without having to fret over your rate potentially increasing with an ARM. 

If you’re considering getting an ARM, find out from your lender what your individual rates would be if you chose a fixed-rate versus an adjustable-rate mortgage.

You can lock in a low rate today. Just make sure you’re ready financially before you act. 

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 Wednesday, March 3 »

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