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Today's mortgage and refinance rates: March 3, 2021 | Rates fluctuate

Mortgage rates today
Below, find the best mortgage and refinance rates today.
Alyssa Powell/Insider

See the mortgage rates for Thursday, March 4 »

Most mortgage and refinance rates have decreased since last week, and rates are still at all-time lows. 

If you're ready to get a mortgage or refinance, you may think about a fixed-rate mortgage rather than an adjustable-rate mortgage.

Darrin English, Senior Community Development Loan Officer at Quontic Bank, told Insider ARMs were a preferable option for some borrowers in the past. Now, you can secure a lower fixed rate for the long term, and you won't gamble on a possible rate increase with an ARM in the future. 

You may want to lock in a low rate while you can.

Refinance rates for Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.79%2.88%2.59%
30-year fixed3.77%3.82%3.52%
7/1 ARM4.68%4.89%4.23%
10/1 ARM4.57%4.64%4.22%

Rates from Money.com

Both fixed and adjustable mortgage refinance rates have hovered near last week's rates, though they have all decreased slightly. 

Refinance rates are still low in general. Low rates often signify a struggling economy. As the US continues to bear the brunt of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, refinance rates will likely remain low.

Mortgage rates for Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.49%2.54%2.33%
30-year fixed3.38%3.38%3.09%
7/1 ARM4.32%4.33%3.86%
10/1 ARM4.03%4.15%3.81%

Rates from Money.com

Mortgage rates are mixed since last week. Rates for 15-year fixed mortgages, 7/1 ARMs, and 10/1 ARMs have decreased, while 30-year fixed rates have remained flat.

We're displaying the average rates nationwide for conventional mortgages, which may be what you consider "normal mortgages." Government-backed mortgages through the FHAVA, or USDA may give you lower rates, provided that you're eligible. 

How to snag a low mortgage rate

Fixed and adjustable mortgage rates have fluctuated over the past week — though they are still at historic lows. It may be an excellent day to lock in a low mortgage rate. 

At the same time, you don't need to be overly concerned about a rate increase shortly. Rates will probably remain low well into 2021, if not longer. You don't have to rush to get a mortgage or refinance. You have the opportunity to improve your financial profile and get a better rate. 

  • Increase your credit score by making payments on time, paying off debts, or letting your credit age. You may consider requesting and reviewing a copy of your credit report to search for any errors that might be lowering your score
  • Save more for a down payment.  The minimum amount of money needed for your down payment will be contingent on which type of mortgage you want. You have a greater likelihood of scoring an improved interest rate from your lender with a higher 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. Many lenders want to see a DTI ratio of 36% or less. To better your ratio, pay down debts or look for ways to boost your income. 
  • Choose a federally-backed mortgage. If you're eligible, you may consider a USDA loan (intended for 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). These loans often come with lower interest rates than conventional mortgages. As a bonus, a down payment isn't needed for USDA or VA loans.

You can secure a low rate now if your finances are in a good place, but you don't need to hurry to get a mortgage or refinance if you're not ready.

How 15-year fixed mortgage rates work

With a 15-year fixed mortgage, you'll pay off your mortgage over a decade and a half, and you'll pay a locked-in interest rate for the duration of the loan.

You'll dish out higher monthly payments with a 15-year term than a longer term because you're paying off the same mortgage principal in a shorter amount of time. 

On the other hand, a 15-year term will cost less than a 30-year fixed mortgage. You'll get a lower interest rate and you'll pay off your mortgage in half the time. 

How 30-year fixed mortgage rates work

If you take out a 30-year fixed mortgage, you'll pay down your loan over 30 years, and you'll pay the same interest rate the entire period.

You'll pay a higher amount of 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 cough up less per month with a 30-year term than a 15-year term because you're dividing up your payments over a longer period. 

How ARMs work

A fixed-rate mortgage secures your rate for your entire loan period. But with an adjustable-rate mortgage, you'll pay the same rate for the introductory period, then that rate will vary systematically. A 10/1 ARM lock in your rate for a decade. Then your rate will change once per year.

You may still want to get a fixed-rate mortgage, even though ARM rates are at historic lows. You can lock in a low rate for 15 to 30 years without risking a future ARM rate increase.

If you're considering getting an ARM, ask your lender what your 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 financially prepared before you take action. 

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 Tuesday, April 13 2021 »

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