Mortgage Rates Today: May 16, 2024—Rates Remain Fairly Steady

The current average mortgage rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is 7.39%, compared to 7.54% a week earlier.

For borrowers who want a shorter mortgage, the average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage is 6.57%, down 0.14 percentage point from the previous week.

If you want to lock in a lower rate by refinancing, compare your existing mortgage rate to today’s refinance rates.

Current Mortgage Rates for May 16, 2024

30-Year Mortgage Rates

Today, the average rate on a 30-year mortgage is 7.39%, compared to last week when it was 7.54%.

The annual percentage rate (APR) on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage is 7.41%. The APR was 7.41% last week. APR is the all-in cost of your loan.

With today’s interest rate of 7.39%, a 30-year fixed mortgage of $100,000 costs approximately $692 per month in principal and interest (taxes and fees not included), the Forbes Advisor mortgage calculator shows. Borrowers will pay about $149,085 in total interest over the life of the loan.

15-Year Mortgage Rates

The average interest rate on a 15-year mortgage (fixed-rate) sits at 6.57%. This same time last week, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was at 6.71%.

On a 15-year fixed, the APR is 6.60%. Last week it was 6.60%.

With an interest rate of 6.57%, you would pay $875 per month in principal and interest for every $100,000 borrowed. Over the life of the loan, you would pay $57,483 in total interest.

Jumbo Mortgage Rates

On a 30-year jumbo, the average interest rate sits at 7.44%, lower than it was at this time last week. The average rate was 7.49% at this time last week.

Borrowers with a 30-year fixed-rate jumbo mortgage with today’s interest rate of 7.44% will pay $695 per month in principal and interest per $100,000. That means that on a $750,000 loan, the monthly principal and interest payment would be around $5,214 and you’d pay roughly $1.13 million in total interest over the life of the loan.

What Affects Mortgage Rates?

The Federal Reserve’s restrictive monetary policy—including its interest rate hikes, which it’s using to restrain inflation—is the primary factor that’s pushing long-term mortgage rates higher. The state of the economy and housing market also affects mortgage rates. As for what interest rate the lender might offer you, this depends on your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio and credit score, both of which indicate your risk as a borrower.

Related: Mortgage Rate Forecast & Trends For 2023

How To Compare Mortgage Rates

Shop around and talk to various lenders to get a sense of each company’s mortgage loan offerings and services. Don’t go with the first lender quote you receive; instead, compare the best mortgage rate quotes to get a deal. In particular, consider what fees they charge, what fees they’re willing to waive and what closing assistance they might provide. Make sure any special offers or discounts don’t come at the cost of a higher mortgage rate.

Be sure to apply with each lender within a 45-day window. During this window, you can have multiple lenders pull your credit history without additional impact on your credit score.

Is This a Good Time To Buy a House?

Mortgage rates remain elevated, and the nation’s housing supply remains limited. The low inventory is preventing house prices from dropping. Meanwhile, the combination of high mortgage rates and appreciated home values will continue to present an obstacle for many prospective homebuyers seeking affordable housing.

How Are Mortgage Rates Determined?

Mortgage interest rates are determined by several factors, including some that borrowers can’t control:

  • Federal Reserve. The Fed rate hikes and decreases adjust the federal funds rate, which helps determine the benchmark interest rate that banks lend money at. As a result, mortgage rates tend to move in the same direction with the Fed’s rate decision.
  • Bond market. Mortgages are also loosely connected to long-term bond yields as investors look for income-producing assets—specifically, the 10-year U.S. Treasury Bond. Home loan rates tend to increase as bond prices decrease, and vice versa.
  • Economic health. Rates can increase during a strong economy when consumer demand is higher and unemployment levels are lower. Anticipate lower rates as the economy weakens and there is less demand for mortgages.
  • Inflation. Banks and lenders may increase rates during inflationary periods to slow the rate of inflation. Additionally, inflation makes goods and services more expensive, reducing the dollar’s purchasing power.

While the above factors set the base interest rate for new mortgages, there are several areas that borrowers can focus on to get a lower rate:

  • Credit score. Applicants with a credit score of 670 or above tend to have an easier time qualifying for a better interest rate. Typically, most lenders require a minimum score of 620 to qualify for a conventional mortgage.
  • Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Lenders may issue mortgages to borrowers with a DTI of 50% or less. However, applying with a DTI below 43% is recommended.
  • Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. Conventional home loans charge private mortgage insurance when your LTV exceeds 80% of the appraisal value, meaning you need to put at least 20% down to avoid higher rates. Additionally, FHA mortgage insurance premiums expire after the first 11 years when you put at least 10% down.
  • Loan term. Longer-term loans such as a 30-year or 20-year mortgage tend to charge higher rates than a 15-year loan term. However, your monthly payment can be more affordable over a longer term.
  • Residence type. Interest rates for a primary residence can be lower than a second home or an investment property. This is because the lender of your primary mortgage receives compensation first in the event of foreclosure.

What Is the Best Type of Mortgage Loan?

As you compare lenders, consider getting rate quotes for several loan programs. In addition to comparing rates and fees, these programs can have flexible down payment and credit requirements that make qualifying easier.

Conventional mortgages are likely to offer competitive rates when you have a credit score between 670 and 850, although it’s possible to qualify with a minimum score of 620. This home loan type also doesn’t require annual fees when you have at least 20% equity and waive PMI.

Several government-backed programs are better when you want to make little or no down payment:

  • FHA loans. Borrowers with a credit score above 580 only need to put 3.5% down and applicants with credit scores ranging from 500 to 579 are only required to make a 10% down payment with FHA loans.
  • VA loans. Servicemembers, veterans and qualifying spouses don’t need to make a down payment when the sales price is less than the home’s appraisal value. VA loan credit requirements vary by lender.
  • USDA loans. Applicants in eligible rural areas can buy or build a home with no money down using a USDA loan. Moderate-income borrowers can qualify for a 30-year fixed-rate term through the Guaranteed Loan Program. Further, buyers with a very low or low income can receive a 33-year term and payment assistance is available through the agency’s Direct Loans program. Credit requirements differ by lender.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a good mortgage rate?

A competitive mortgage rate currently ranges from 6% to 8% for a 30-year fixed loan. Several factors impact mortgage rates, including the repayment term, loan type and borrower’s credit score.

How to get a lower mortgage interest rate?

Comparing lenders and loan programs is an excellent start. Borrowers should also strive for a good or excellent credit score between 670 and 850 and a debt-to-income ratio of 43% or less.

Further, making a minimum down payment of 20% on conventional mortgages can help you automatically waive private mortgage insurance premiums, which increases your borrowing costs. Buying discount points or lender credits can also reduce your interest rate.

How long can you lock in a mortgage rate?

Most rate locks last 30 to 60 days and your lender may not charge a fee for this initial period. However, extending the rate lock period up to 90 or 120 days is possible, depending on your lender, but additional costs may apply.

More From Advisor

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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