Most people consider a “good” mortgage rate to be the lowest average current rate available. But here’s what they may not realize: Not everyone will qualify for the best rates out there.
So what is a good mortgage rate? It can be different for every borrower, depending on their financial situation and credit score.
Many factors go into determining the mortgage rate you can get. Once you understand what these variables are, the better equipped you’ll be to navigate the mortgage market and find the best loan for your situation.
This guide will get you on your way.
What Is a Mortgage Interest Rate?
If you’re a first-time home buyer, you may have a lot of questions about mortgage interest rates. The interest rate on a loan is the cost you pay to borrow money. You pay the interest each month as part of your regular payments for your loan.
There are different types of mortgage rates. With a fixed rate mortgage, your interest stays the same over the life of the loan. This means your monthly payment will always be the same.
An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) changes with the prime interest rate, which is influenced by the federal funds benchmark set by the Federal Reserve (the Fed). An ARM typically starts with a fixed rate for the first five to seven years, and then might fluctuate, based on the prime rate. This could potentially make your payments much higher, depending on the state of the economy.
First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.
How Do Mortgage Interest Rates Work?
So what is a good mortgage interest rate? Interest rates are always changing. A variety of factors determine mortgage rate changes. Some you have control over, and others you don’t.
One of the critical factors that’s outside your control is what’s happening in the economy. Major economic events have a significant effect on interest rate fluctuations. For instance, if employment rates are high, the interest rate typically rises as well.
Inflation, which limits consumers’ purchasing power, also plays a role. Since 2022, inflation has been on the rise, and the Fed has raised interest rates numerous times to try to tame it.
Your personal financial situation also affects the interest rate you get, as outlined below.
How Lenders Determine Your Mortgage Rate
In addition to the economic factors and the influence of the Fed, your unique financial situation will help determine the mortgage rate you qualify for.
Here are a few key factors lenders typically consider when determining your rate.
Most lenders review your credit history to determine if you’re eligible for a mortgage.
With this in mind, you want to make sure you check your score regularly and that you’re doing everything you can to keep your score as high as possible, like paying your bills on time and keeping your credit balances low.
Credit report agencies will assign you a credit score by evaluating these factors. The most common model is the FICO® credit score, which ranges from 300 to 850.
Usually, if you have a credit score of 800 or higher, it’s considered exceptional, whereas a credit score between 740 and 799 is considered very good.
A credit score of 739 to 670 is good, and a score between 669 and 580 is fair. A score of 579 and lower is considered poor. A low credit score indicates that a borrower represents a higher risk. Borrowers with these credit scores may have trouble getting approved for a loan.
It’s important to note that specific credit score requirements may depend on the loan you apply for.
Income and Assets
Your income is another important factor lenders use to determine if you’re eligible for a mortgage. Lenders prefer borrowers with a steady income. To determine if you qualify, lenders evaluate your income and other assets, such as investments.
Also, your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is essential information. Your DTI indicates what percentage of your monthly income is used for debt payments. This number gives lenders an idea of how well you’re doing financially.
If your DTI ratio is high, it may show that you’re not in a position to take on more debt. A lender might give you a higher interest rate or deny your mortgage application altogether.
Down Payment Amount
Sometimes your down payment amount can lower your interest rate or even determine what loans you’re eligible for. Lenders may see you as less of a risk if you put more money down.
A good standard tends to be a 20% down payment. A 20% down payment may help you get the most favorable interest rates.
However, if you’re applying for a government-backed loan, you may not need such a big down payment. For example, a Veterans Affairs mortgage requires no money down, and a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan only requires 3.5% down.
Also, some conventional home loans do not require 20% down.
Loan Term and Type
The loan term you select, such as 15 or 30 years, can also make a difference in the interest rate you receive. In general, a shorter-term loan will have a lower interest rate than a longer-term loan. However, your monthly payments will be higher with a shorter-term mortgage.
There are also several types of mortgage loan categories, including conventional, FHA, USDA, and VA loans. Each loan product may have very different rates.
Finally, as discussed, with a fixed-rate mortgage, your interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan. But if you choose an adjustable-rate mortgage, your interest rate will vary after an initial fixed rate.
Before you take out any loan, it’s important to compare all of your options to make sure you find the best rate available.
Where your property is located can also play a role in the interest rate you receive. Some real estate markets are simply more costly than others. For instance the cost of living in California is higher than it is in some other locations.
You can check the cost of living by state to see how your state ranks.
Other Factors That Determine Your Mortgage Rate
In addition to your financial situation and location, and the type of loan you’re applying for, there are some other things that may influence the mortgage rate you get. They include:
The lender you choose
Different lenders offer different mortgage rates and terms. Shop around to find the best rate you can qualify for.
Housing market conditions
This factor is out of your control, but it’s good to understand how it works. If demand for houses is strong, mortgage rates tend to rise. And the opposite is true: When demand slows, rates tend to decrease. Knowing what the housing market is doing when you’re shopping for a home loan can help prepare you for what to expect.
What Is Considered a Good Mortgage Rate
Currently, in mid-June 2023, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 6.67%, according to Freddie Mac. Anything below or close to that number might be considered good.
But again, what’s a good mortgage rate for you depends on your financial situation and many other factors. A good rate is what you can qualify for. Be sure to compare rates from different lenders to get the best deal and the lowest rate you can.
As you’re comparing your options, be sure to look at the loan’s APR (annual percentage rate). An APR gives borrowers a more comprehensive measure of the cost to borrow money than the interest rate alone does.
The APR includes the interest rate, any points, mortgage broker fees, and other charges you pay to borrow money. So when you’re comparing options, you’ll want to review each lender’s APR to indicate the true cost of borrowing.
To get an idea of what your mortgage payments might be, you can use a mortgage calculator.
How to Get a Good Mortgage Rate
Now that you know the answer to the question, what is a good interest rate for a mortgage?, you’ll want to make sure you get the best rate for you. Making sure your finances are in order before you apply for a mortgage will likely help you obtain a better interest rate and loan terms. Here are some ways to do that.
• Pay off higher-interest debt. If you have debt like credit card debt, you’re likely paying a lot of money in interest. That money could be going toward other things like a mortgage payment. Second, carrying a large amount of debt means you lower your chances of approval for a home loan. Pay off as much of your debt as you reasonably can.
• Save more for a large down payment. Buyers who put down less than 20% may end up paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI), which typically costs between 0.5% and 1.5% of the loan amount annually.
• Review your credit history and check for errors. You can get a free copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus or from AnnualCreditReport.com. If you spot any errors, be sure to alert the credit bureaus right away. Correcting any mistakes may help improve your ability to get a home loan.
What is a good interest rate on a mortgage? Your financial health, the health of the economy, the loan type and term, and other factors help determine the actual rates you’re offered. What you can do is work to strengthen your credit and financial situation and pay down debt you have, such as credit card debt.
Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.
What is the 30 year mortgage rate right now?
Right now, as of mid-June 2023, the average rate for a 30-year mortgage is 6.67%, according to Freddie Mac.
What is a good interest rate for a mortgage now?
A good rate for a mortgage now is anything below the average rate for a 30-year mortgage, which is 6.67% in mid-June 2023. But a good mortgage rate can be different for every borrower, depending on their financial situation and credit score, as well as the type of home loan they’re applying for, among other factors.
Is 4% a good rate for a mortgage?
Currently, in 2023, 4% is considered a good rate for a mortgage, compared to the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which is 6.67%.
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