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Today's Mortgage Rates — November 20: Rates Drop Again

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Mortgage rates on Friday Nov. 20 have fallen again on 15-year and 30-year fixed-rate loans. The average interest rate on these loans is extremely competitive, presenting a prime opportunity for homebuyers to lock in their rate.

Here's what you need to know about today's average rates.

Mortgage Type Today's Interest Rate
30-year fixed mortgage 2.830%
20-year fixed mortgage 2.675%
15-year fixed mortgage 2.353%
5/1 ARM 3.376%

DATA SOURCE: THE ASCENT'S NATIONAL MORTGAGE INTEREST RATE TRACKING.

30-year mortgage rates

The average 30-year mortgage rate today is 2.830%, down .01% from yesterday's average rate of 2.840%. For each $100,000 in mortgage debt at today's average rate, your monthly principal and interest payment would be $412. This doesn't include property taxes and insurance. Total interest costs over the life of your loan would be $48,497 per $100,000 borrowed.

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 2.675%, up .014% from yesterday's average rate of 2.661%. At today's average rate, your monthly principal and interest payment would be $538 per $100,000 borrowed. Over the life of your loan, total interest costs would be $29,233.

The total interest costs on your 20-year mortgage are much lower than total costs on a 30-year loan. However, you'll need to make a much higher monthly payment to repay your loan on time since you have a decade less to do it. That's the trade-off of a 20-year loan versus a 30-year one.

15-year mortgage rates

The average 15-year mortgage rate today is 2.353%, down .006% from yesterday's average rate of 2.359%. If you borrowed at today's average rate, your monthly principal and interest costs would be $660. You'd pay $18,780 in total interest costs over the life of the loan for each $100,000 in mortgage debt you take on.

A 15-year loan drops your total interest costs even further than a 20-year loan but makes monthly payments even higher compared with the 30-year alternative. That makes sense since you have half the time to pay off your debt, and you're also paying interest for half the time compared with a 30-year loan.

5/1 ARMs

The average 5/1 ARM rate is 3.376%, down .116% from yesterday's average rate of 3.492%. An ARM usually has a lower starting interest rate than a fixed-rate loan, which is what makes it attractive to borrowers. Homeowners are willing to take the risk of rates adjusting upward in exchange for the low starting rate.

Right now, however, the average interest rate on a 30-year loan is below the starting rate on an ARM and the risk that rates will rise is extremely high because they're currently near record lows. As a result, securing an ARM does not make sense.

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, though 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

Before locking in, you should get rate quotes from at least three of the best mortgage lenders to ensure you're getting a loan at the most competitive possible rate.

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