Several key refinance interest rates slid lower today, December 20th, according to data compiled by Bankrate..
- 30-year fixed refinance rate: 3.21%, –0.03 vs. a week ago
- 15-year fixed refinance rate: 2.49%, –0.02 vs. a week ago
- 10-year fixed refinance rate: 2.49%, -0.01 vs. a week ago
Here’s a pro tip: Getting multiple offers can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. “The extra effort of comparison shopping among lenders and putting in an extra application or two can pay dividends for years with a lower rate and savings on fees,” says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate chief financial analyst.
- 30-year fixed refinance
- 15-year fixed refinance
- 10-year fixed refinance
- What does it mean to refinance your mortgage?
- 30-year refi? 15-year refi? Which is right for me?
- What does it cost to refinance?
- Can you save money with a refinance? Is now a good time to refi?
- Where are mortgage refinance rates headed?
- How to shop for a mortgage
- Tips for getting the best mortgage rate
- Minimum credit scores for different kinds of mortgages
- Searching for the right mortgage lender?
30-year fixed refinance
The average 30-year fixed-refinance rate is 3.21 percent, down 3 basis points compared with a week ago. A month ago, the average rate on a 30-year fixed refinance was lower, at 3.17 percent.
At the current average rate, you’ll pay $428.10 per month in principal and interest for every $100,000 you borrow.
You can use Bankrate’s mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly payments and see how much you’ll save by adding extra payments. It will also help you calculate how much interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.
15-year fixed refinance
The 15-year fixed refi average rate is now 2.49 percent, down 2 basis point since the same time last week.
Monthly payments on a 15-year fixed refinance at that rate will cost around $390 per $100,000 borrowed. That may put more pressure on your monthly budget than a 30-year mortgage would, but it comes with some big advantages: You’ll come out thousands of dollars ahead over the life of the loan in total interest paid and build equity much more quickly.
10-year fixed refinance
The average rate for a 10-year fixed-refinance loan is 2.49 percent, down 1 basis points over the last seven days.
Monthly payments on a 10-year fixed-rate refi at 2.49 percent would cost $389.94 per month for every $100,000 you borrow. That substantial monthly payment comes with the benefit of paying even less interest over the life of the loan than you would with a 15-year term.
What does it mean to refinance your mortgage?
Refinancing your mortgage means taking out a new home loan. In the process, you’ll fully pay off your existing loan, and then start payments on a new one. The two most popular kinds of mortgage refinances are rate-and-term changes — which result in a new interest rate and a reset payment clock — and cash-out refinances. The latter allow homeowners to take advantage of their equity by taking out a new mortgage with a larger principal based on the home’s current value.
30-year refi? 15-year refi? Which is right for me?
No matter what kind of refinance you decide to undertake, once you close on your new loan, the payment clock goes back to zero. For example, if you take out a new 30-year mortgage, you’ll have another 30 years of payments ahead of you.
That said, a 30-year refi is the right choice for the majority of people. Extending the term of your loan means lower monthly payments, which can free up some extra funds if money is tight.
A 15-year refi has some advantages, too, namely that you pay a lot less interest over the life of the loan. Because 15-year loans tend to have lower interest rates than their 30-year counterparts and a shorter repayment window, the overall savings can be significant. Keep in mind, though, that a short repayment window is a double-edged sword. It does help you save in the long run, but with less time to pay, 15-year mortgages have higher monthly payments.
Here are sample payments on a $300,000 mortgage at 3 percent interest:
|Term||Monthly payment||Total cost|
What does it cost to refinance?
Refinance costs can change based on where you’re located, the lender you’re working with and a number of other factors. The general rule of thumb, however, is that costs are around 2 to 5 percent of the loan’s principal amount. On a $300,000 mortgage, that comes out to $6,000 to $15,000 in closing costs.
Can you save money with a refinance? Is now a good time to refi?
Yes, depending on your situation. Especially with mortgage rates currently around historic lows, it’s a great time to refinance. If you have a loan that you’ve been holding since before 2020, you’re almost guaranteed to be able to refinance to a lower-cost mortgage. That can mean significant savings each month and overall, so it’s worth exploring.
Keep in mind, though, you’ll want to calculate your break-even timeline. If you’re planning to move soon, you may not save enough to recoup your closing costs before you do.
Where are mortgage refinance rates headed?
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, rates have been hovering around historic lows. Industry experts say this won’t last forever, and most expect rates to close out 2021 higher and on an upward trend.
In the near term, however, borrowers have caught another reprieve. With the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s announcement that it will end the 0.5 percent fee on most refinances, you can expect rates to hold steady or fall in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve seems poised to keep interest rates on bonds low, which could keep mortgage rates favorable into the fall.
To see where Bankrate’s panel of experts expect rates to go from here, check out our Rate Trend Index.
Want to see where rates are right now? See local mortgage rates.
Last updated December 20, 2021.
How to shop for a mortgage
Shopping around and comparing offers is critical to get the best deal on your mortgage refinance. Make sure to get quotes from at least three lenders, and pay attention not just to the interest rate but also to the fees they charge and other terms. Sometimes it’s a better deal to choose a slightly higher interest loan if the other aspects are favorable.
Tips for getting the best mortgage rate
- Shop around
- Do your homework to understand the mortgage market in your area
- Consider working with a mortgage broker
- Don’t try to time the market — rates change nearly constantly, and you could lose out on a good deal if you wait
Minimum credit scores for different kinds of mortgages
Different mortgages have different minimum requirements for their borrowers. Although lenders are free to adjust these numbers as they please, here are the most common credit score minimums for different types of mortgages:
If your credit score is less than 500, work on improving it before applying for a mortgage, because most lenders won’t issue a loan to someone with a score of 499 or lower. Conversely, if your credit score is higher than these minimums, you may be able to secure a better interest rate.
Methodology: The rates you see above are Bankrate.com Site Averages. These calculations are run after the close of the previous business day and include rates and/or yields we have collected that day for a specific banking product. Bankrate.com site averages tend to be volatile — they help consumers see the movement of rates day to day. The institutions included in the “Bankrate.com Site Average” tables will be different from one day to the next, depending on which institutions’ rates we gather on a particular day for presentation on the site.
To learn more about the different rate averages Bankrate publishes, see “Understanding Bankrate’s Rate Averages.”