Today's mortgage rates for Nov. 18, 2021: Rates decreased

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© Provided by CNET Chona Kasinger/Getty A handful of important mortgage rates tailed off today. 15-year fixed and 30-year fixed mortgage rates both dropped off. For variable rates, the 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage also sunk lower. Although mortgage rates are always changing, they are quite low right now. Because of this, right now is an optimal time for prospective homebuyers to secure a fixed rate. But as always, make sure to first think about your personal goals and circumstances before purchasing a home, and shop around to find a lender who can best meet your needs.

30-year fixed-rate mortgages

The average interest rate for a standard 30-year fixed mortgage is 3.14%, which is a decrease of 5 basis points compared to one week ago. (A basis point is equivalent to 0.01%.) The most frequently used loan term is a 30-year fixed mortgage. A 30-year fixed rate mortgage will usually have a smaller monthly payment than a 15-year one — but often a higher interest rate. 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. © Chona Kasinger/Getty

15-year fixed-rate mortgages

The average rate for a 15-year, fixed mortgage is 2.44%, which is a decrease of 2 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 bigger monthly payment. However, as long as you can afford the monthly payments, there are several benefits to a 15-year loan. These include typically 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 3.13%, a decrease of 5 basis points from the same time last week. For the first five years, you’ll typically get a lower interest rate with a 5/1 ARM compared to a 30-year fixed mortgage. But shifts in the market could 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 ARM may be a good option. If not, shifts in the market could significantly increase your interest rate.

Mortgage rate trends

We use data collected by Bankrate, which is owned by the same parent company as CNET, to track changes in these daily rates. This table summarizes the average rates offered by lenders across the country:

Current average mortgage interest rates

Loan type Interest rate A week ago Change
30-year fixed rate 3.14% 3.19% -0.05
15-year fixed rate 2.44% 2.46% -0.02
30-year jumbo mortgage rate 2.76% 2.80% -0.04
30-year mortgage refinance rate 3.13% 3.16% -0.03

Updated on Nov. 18, 2021.

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How to shop for the best mortgage rate

To find a personalized mortgage rate, meet with your local mortgage broker or use an online mortgage service. In order to find the best home mortgage, you’ll need to consider your goals and current finances. Specific mortgage interest rates will vary based on factors including credit score, down payment, debt-to-income ratio and loan-to-value ratio. Generally, you want a higher credit score, a higher down payment, a lower DTI and a lower LTV to get a lower interest rate. Apart from the interest rate, factors including closing costs, fees, discount points and taxes might also factor into the cost of your house. Be sure to shop around with multiple lenders — such as credit unions and online lenders in addition to local and national banks — in order to get a mortgage that works best for you.

What is a good loan term?

One important factor to consider when choosing a mortgage is 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. Mortgages are further divided into fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. The interest rates in a fixed-rate mortgage are fixed for the duration of the loan. For adjustable-rate mortgages, interest rates are fixed for a certain number of years (most frequently five, seven or 10 years), then the rate changes annually based on the market interest rate. When deciding between a fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage, you should think about how long you plan to stay in your house. For people who plan on living long-term in a new house, fixed-rate mortgages may be the better option. While adjustable-rate mortgages can sometimes offer lower interest rates upfront, fixed-rate mortgages are more stable in the long term. If you don’t have plans to keep your new house for more than three to 10 years, though, an adjustable-rate mortgage could give you a better deal. There is no best loan term as a general rule; it all depends on your goals and your current financial situation. It’s important to do your research and think about your own priorities when choosing a mortgage.

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