Today’s mortgage and refinance rates: May 2, 2021 | Rates waver

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Conventional rates from; government-backed rates from RedVentures.

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Today’s mortgage rates are low across the board. Fixed rates are much lower than adjustable rates, though.

Rates for conventional mortgages (which might be what you think of “regular mortgages”) are low overall. But mortgages backed by the FHA and VA usually pay even lower rates, depending on which term length you choose. Government-backed mortgages are great options if you’re eligible to apply.

Conventional rates from; government-backed rates from RedVentures.

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If you refinance into a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, FHA loan, or VA loan, you could get a rate under 3%.

Mortgage and refinance rates are low, so it could be a good day to lock in a rate. But you may not need to rush to get a low rate.

Rates will probably stay low for the foreseeable future. You have time to improve your finances, which could result in a better interest rate. Consider the following steps:

  • Increase your credit score by paying all your bills on time. You could also pay down debts or let your credit age.
  • Save for a larger down paymentYou may need between 0% and 20% for a down payment, depending on which type of mortgage you get. But if you can pay more than the minimum upfront, a lender might reward you with a lower rate.
  • Lower your debt-to-income ratio. Your DTI ratio is the amount you pay toward debts each month, divided by your gross monthly income. The lower your DTI ratio, the better. Consider paying down debts more aggressively to get a better ratio.

You can secure a low rate today if your finances are in good shape, but you don’t need to rush to get a mortgage or refinance if you’re not ready.

Mortgage rate trends

Mortgage rates are up since last Sunday, but they’ve decreased since this time last month.

Refinance rate trends

Refinance rates have gone up since this time last week. They’re lower than they were April 2, though.

If you get a 15-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay the same interest rate over the 15 years it will take you to pay down your loan.

A 15-year term will cost less than a 30-year term. You’ll get a lower interest rate and you’ll pay off your mortgage in half the time. 

However, you’ll make higher monthly payments with a 15-year fixed mortgage than a 30-year fixed mortgage because you’re paying off the same mortgage principal over fewer years.

If you get a 30-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay down your mortgage over three decades, and you’ll have a set interest rate the whole time. 

You’ll pay less per month with a 30-year term than a shorter term because you’re splitting up your payments over more time.

You’ll pay more in total interest with a 30-year fixed mortgage than a 15-year fixed mortgage because you’ll have a higher interest rate for an extended period. 

An adjustable-rate mortgage, also known as an ARM, locks in your rate for the first several years, then alters it periodically. A 10/1 ARM secures your rate for a decade before changing your rate annually. 

While ARM rates are at historic lows, you may still get the best deal on a fixed-rate mortgage. Instead of chancing a rate increase with an ARM, you can secure a low rate for 15 or 30 years. 

If you’re thinking about getting an ARM, ask your lender what your individual rates would be if you chose a fixed-rate versus an adjustable-rate mortgage.

Along with conventional mortgage rates, we’ve provided rates for FHA and VA mortgages, which are two types of government-backed home loans.

Government mortgages are backed by federal agencies. They’re less risky for lenders, because the agency compensates the lender if you default on payments. Because they’re lower-risk, lenders charge lower rates on government-backed loans than on conventional loans.

These mortgages usually have more relaxed requirements when it comes to credit scores, debt-to-income ratios, or down payments.

Government-backed mortgages are great options if you qualify. Here are the three types:

  • FHA mortgage: This type of loan isn’t limited to a certain type of person, so it’s the most common government mortgage. It’s particularly useful if your credit score isn’t high enough to get a conventional mortgage.
  • VA mortgage: You may be eligible if you’re an active military member or veteran.
  • USDA mortgage: You might qualify if you live in a rural area and earn a low to moderate income.

Mortgage and refinance rates by state

Check the latest rates in your state at the links below. 

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Washington DC
West Virginia

Laura Grace Tarpley is an editor 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.

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.

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