Today's mortgage and refinance rates: March 5, 2021 | Rates waver

Refinance rates have dropped since last week, and mortgage rates have increased. Rates are still at all-time lows overall.

If you’re ready to get a mortgage or refinance, you may think about a fixed-rate mortgage as opposed to 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 15 or 30 years, and you won’t chance a future ARM rate increase.

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You may consider locking in a low rate while possible.

Today’s refinance rates: Friday, March 5, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.79%2.94%2.59%
30-year fixed3.72%3.9%3.48%
7/1 ARM4.85%5.21%4.52%
10/1 ARM4.76%5.07%4.24%

Rates from Money.com

Refinance rates for all mortgages have dropped since last week, with 7/1 ARM rates dropping by a staggering 36 basis points. You can lock in a refinance rate on a fixed-rate mortgage for under 4% today.

Refinance rates remain at historic lows. Low rates commonly signify a floundering economy. Refinance rates will likely stay low as the US continues to bear the brunt of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today’s mortgage rates: Friday, March 5, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.5%2.34%2.33%
30-year fixed3.36%3.13%3.11%
7/1 ARM4.48%4.05%3.86%
10/1 ARM4.19%3.84%3.82%

Rates from Money.com

Since last Friday, all mortgage rates have ticked up. Rates for 7/1 ARMs have gone up the most significantly, increasing by 43 basis points. 

We’re giving you the average rates nationwide for conventional mortgages, which may be what you consider “normal mortgages.” You might be eligible for a lower rate with a government-backed mortgage through the FHA, VA, or USDA.

How to obtain a low mortgage rate

Fixed and adjustable mortgage rates have varied since last Friday — though they remain at striking lows. It may be a good time to lock in a low mortgage rate. 

However, you shouldn’t be overly concerned about your rate going up anytime soon, as rates will probably remain low well into 2021, if not longer. There’s no need to hurry to get a mortgage or refinance. You have the chance to improve your financial position and receive a better rate. 

To get the best possible rate, consider these steps before applying:  

  • Increase your credit scoreYou can start by making timely payments, paying off your debts, or allowing your credit to age. You’ll receive a better interest rate with a higher score, and many lenders will lower your rate with a score of at least 700. 
  • Save more for a down payment.  The smallest amount you need for your down payment will be contingent on the type of mortgage you want. The bigger your down payment, the more probable your lender will give you a better interest 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. Many lenders want to see a DTI ratio of 36% or less. . To improve your ratio, pay down debts or look for ways to boost your income. 
  • Choose a federally-backed mortgage. You might want to consider a USDA loan (aimed at low-to-moderate income borrowers buying in a rural area), a VA loan (designed for 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.

If you’re financially prepared, you can secure a great rate — but there’s no need to rush. 

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How do 15-year fixed mortgage rates work?

With a 15-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay off your mortgage over 15 years, and your interest rate won’t change the entire time.

You’ll dish out more per month with a 15-year fixed mortgage than a 30-year fixed mortgage because you’re paying off the same mortgage principal in half the time. 

On the bright side, a 15-year term will be less expensive than a longer term. You’ll get a lower interest rate and you’ll pay off your mortgage in fewer years. 

How do 30-year fixed mortgage rates work?

If you take out a 30-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay off your loan over three decades, and your interest rate will remain the same for the entire term.

You’ll fork over smaller monthly payments with a 30-year term than a 15-year term because you’re splitting up your payments over more time. 

Unfortunately, it will cost you more total interest with a 30-year fixed mortgage than a 15-year fixed mortgage because you’re paying a higher interest rate for an extended period. 

How do ARMs work?

An adjustable-rate mortgage, often called an ARM, will secure your rate for a predefined period and then it will fluctuate regularly. A 7/1 ARM locks in your rate for seven years. Then, your rate will chance once per year. 

Although ARM rates are fairly low now, you still may want to go after a fixed-rate mortgage. The 30-year fixed rates are the same as or lower than ARM rates, so it could be a good chance to lock in a low rate with a fixed mortgage. This way, you won’t need to fret about your rate going up in the future with an ARM.

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.

You can get a low rate today. Just make sure you’re ready financially before you act. 

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 Friday, March 5 »

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