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Mortgage Rates Today
As of April 19, the Freddie Mac national average for 30-year mortgage rates was 4.47%. The average rate for 15-year mortgages was 3.94%, while 5/1 ARM mortgage rates averaged at 3.67%. Compared to last week, rates went up five to seven basis points across all loan types.
U.S. Mortgage Rates Over Time
Mortgage Rates This Week
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Mortgage interest rates have remained steady since the end of February, following a rapid increase that began in January 2018. Historically speaking, mortgage rates are lower than ever: two decades ago, the average rate for a 30-year mortgage stood at 7.15%. But on the other hand, it's also true that today's home loan rates are at the highest levels seen in the past four years. Mortgage rates may be moving slowly for the moment, but they are likely to continue rising.
There are a few major reasons that interest rates for mortgages and other loans will probably keep climbing. Continued economic growth has prompted the Federal Reserve to implement steady increases in the prime rate, which is the rate that banks pay to borrow funds. As it becomes more costly for mortgage lenders to obtain money, they pass on their increased expenses to borrowers in the form of higher interest rates on mortgages and other kinds of credit.
Should You Refinance Your Mortgage Now?
If you're thinking about refinancing in 2018, the rise of interest rates means that you should start shopping for mortgages soon. To understand the savings at stake, consider that a $400,000 mortgage balance at April's average rate of 4.44% would cost $2,013 before taxes and insurance. At January's average rate of 3.95%, that balance would cost $1,898 monthly—a difference of over $100 per month and more than $41,000 in lifetime interest.
For homeowners considering a cash-out refinance, higher mortgage rates mean that it may be more efficient to obtain a home equity line of credit (HELOC). If most of the rates above are higher than your original mortgage rate, then a cash-out refinance would mean paying a higher rate on your entire balance for the full remainder of your mortgage term. By contrast, HELOC borrowers only pay interest on whatever amount of credit they decide to draw.
While HELOC rates do tend to be higher than cash-out refi rates, getting a HELOC would allow you to keep a lower rate on the rest of your mortgage debt.
More Mortgage Tips & Analysis
For more information on how to navigate the mortgage experience, take a look at our informational guides and reviews of popular mortgage lenders.
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