A variety of significant mortgage rates saw an increase over the last seven days. The average interest rates for both 15-year fixed and 30-year fixed mortgages both made gains. We also saw an uptick in the average rate of 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.
After nearly a year of rising mortgage rates, borrowers are finally starting to see some relief. Rates have been gradually declining since they hit their peak in late 2022, though current rates remain nearly double what they were during the record-low rate environment of the pandemic.
Inflation, and the series of rate hikes the Federal Reserve implemented in 2022 in an attempt to curb it, contributed in part to the rise in mortgage rates. Mortgage rates hit a 20-year high in late 2022, but now the macroeconomic environment is changing again.
Overall inflation remains high but has been slowly but consistently falling every month since it peaked in June 2022. The Fed’s decision to raise the federal funds rate by 0.25% on Feb. 1 after its latest meeting — the smallest increase since March 2022 — suggests that inflation may be cooling and the central bank may be able to ease up on its rate hikes.
What does this mean for homebuyers this year? Mortgage rates are likely to decrease slightly in 2023, although they’re highly unlikely to return to the rock-bottom levels of 2020 and 2021. However, rate volatility may continue for some time. “Expect mortgage rates to yo-yo up and down in the first half of the year, at least until there is a consensus about when the Fed will conclude raising interest rates,” says Greg McBride, CFA and chief financial analyst at Bankrate. (Like CNET Money, Bankrate is owned by Red Ventures.) McBride expects rates to fall more consistently as the year progresses. “Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates will end the year near 5.25%,” he predicts.
Rather than worrying about market mortgage rates, homebuyers should focus on what they can control: getting the best rate they can for their situation. Take steps to improve your credit score and save for a down payment to increase your odds of qualifying for the lowest rate available. Also, be sure to compare the rates and fees from multiple lenders to get the best deal. Looking at the annual percentage rate, or APR, will show you the total cost of borrowing and help you compare apples to apples.
30-year fixed-rate mortgages
For a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, the average rate you’ll pay is 6.96%, which is an increase of 24 basis points compared to one week ago. (A basis point is equivalent to 0.01%.) Thirty-year fixed mortgages are the most frequently used loan term. A 30-year fixed mortgage will usually have a greater interest rate than a 15-year fixed rate mortgage — but also a lower monthly payment. You won’t be able to pay off your house as quickly and you’ll pay more interest over time, but a 30-year fixed mortgage is a good option if you’re looking to minimize your monthly payment.
15-year fixed-rate mortgages
The average rate for a 15-year, fixed mortgage is 6.24%, which is an increase of 14 basis points from seven days ago. Compared to a 30-year fixed mortgage, a 15-year fixed mortgage with the same loan value and interest rate will have a larger monthly payment. But a 15-year loan will usually be the better deal, as long as you’re able to afford the monthly payments. These include usually being able to get a lower interest rate, paying off your mortgage sooner, and paying less total interest in the long run.
5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages
A 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage has an average rate of 5.63%, a rise of 11 basis points from the same time last week. For the first five years, you’ll usually get a lower interest rate with a 5/1 ARM compared to a 30-year fixed mortgage. But shifts in the market may cause your interest rate to increase after that time, as detailed in the terms of your loan. For borrowers who plan to sell or refinance their house before the rate changes, an adjustable-rate mortgage may be a good option. Otherwise, changes in the market mean your interest rate could be much higher once the rate adjusts.
Mortgage rate trends
Mortgage rates were historically low throughout most of 2020 and 2021 but increased steadily throughout 2022. The Federal Reserve raised the target federal funds rate — which influences the cost of most consumer loans, including mortgages — seven times in 2022 in an attempt to curb record-high inflation. Though the Fed doesn’t directly control mortgage rates, higher inflation and a higher federal funds rate tend to lead to higher mortgage rates.
The Fed’s latest 0.25% increase — smaller than its six previous increases of 0.75% or 0.5% — represents a shift in the Fed’s stance and suggests that the central bank might be less aggressive in its rate hikes in 2023 if inflation continues to come down. But inflation is still far from the Fed’s 2% target range and Fed officials have stated repeatedly (PDF) that additional rate hikes — albeit smaller ones — will be necessary. All said, while we may see mortgage rates pull back gradually this year, borrowers shouldn’t expect a sharp drop or a return to pandemic lows.
We use information collected by Bankrate, which is owned by the same parent company as CNET, to track rate changes over time. This table summarizes the average rates offered by lenders across the US:
Current average mortgage interest rates
|Loan type||Interest rate||A week ago||Change|
|30-year fixed rate||6.96%||6.72%||+0.24|
|15-year fixed rate||6.24%||6.10%||+0.14|
|30-year jumbo mortgage rate||6.99%||6.75%||+0.24|
|30-year mortgage refinance rate||7.03%||6.84%||+0.19|
Rates as of Feb. 22, 2023.
How to shop for the best mortgage rate
To find a personalized mortgage rate, talk to your local mortgage broker or use an online mortgage service. When shopping around for home mortgage rates, take into account your goals and current financial situation.
Specific mortgage interest rates will vary based on factors including credit score, down payment, debt-to-income ratio and loan-to-value ratio. Having a higher credit score, a higher down payment, a low DTI, a low LTV or any combination of those factors can help you get a lower interest rate.
The interest rate isn’t the only factor that affects the cost of your home. Be sure to also consider additional factors such as fees, closing costs, taxes and discount points. Be sure to comparison shop with multiple lenders — like credit unions and online lenders in addition to local and national banks — in order to get a mortgage loan that’s the right fit for you.
What’s the best loan term?
When picking a mortgage, it’s important to consider the loan term, or payment schedule. The loan terms most commonly offered are 15 years and 30 years, although you can also find 10-, 20- and 40-year mortgages. Another important distinction is between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. The interest rates in a fixed-rate mortgage are fixed for the duration of the loan. Unlike a fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rates for an adjustable-rate mortgage are only fixed for a certain amount of time (typically five, seven or 10 years). After that, the rate changes annually based on the market rate.
When choosing between a fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage, you should take into consideration the length of time you plan to live in your home. Fixed-rate mortgages might be a better fit if you plan on living in a home for a while. While adjustable-rate mortgages might have lower interest rates upfront, fixed-rate mortgages are more stable over time. However, you could get a better deal with an adjustable-rate mortgage if you only plan to keep your house for a couple years. The best loan term depends on an individual’s situation and goals, so be sure to take into consideration what’s important to you when choosing a mortgage.