by Maurie Backman | Updated July 19, 2021 - First published on Dec. 30, 2020
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Refinance rates have inched a bit lower. Should you apply for a new mortgage?
Mortgage refinance rates are quite competitive as December draws to a close. While refinance rates tend to be a little higher than the rates you'll snag for a new purchase mortgage, they're not only attractive today, but a touch lower than where they were yesterday. This is what they look like:
|Mortgage Refinance Type||Today's Interest Rate|
|30-year fixed refinance||2.862%|
|20-year fixed refinance||2.733%|
|15-year fixed refinance||2.356%|
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The average 30-year refinance rate today is 2.862%, down 0.006% from yesterday. At today's rate, you'll pay principal and interest of $413.88 for every $100,000 you borrow. That doesn't include added expenses like property taxes and homeowners insurance premiums.
Check out The Ascent's mortgage calculator to see what your monthly payment might be and how much your loan will ultimately cost. Also learn how much money you'd save by snagging a lower interest rate or choosing a shorter loan term.
The average 20-year refinance rate today is 2.733%. At today's rate, you'll pay principal and interest of $541.48 for every $100,000 you borrow. Though your monthly payment will go up by $127.60 with a 20-year, $100,000 loan versus a 30-year loan of the same amount, you'll save $19,041.66 in interest over the course of your repayment period for every $100,000 you borrow.
The average 15-year refinance rate today is 2.356%, down 0.002% from yesterday. At today's rate, you'll pay principal and interest of $659.84 for every $100,000 you borrow. Compared to the 30-year loan, your monthly payment will be $245.96 higher per $100,000 in mortgage principal. Your interest savings, however, will amount to $30,223.11 over the life of your repayment period per $100,000 of mortgage debt.
Refinancing your mortgage can be a wise financial decision if you're able to reduce your interest rate and lower your monthly payments by securing a new home loan. However, there are a few key things to think about before you refinance.
First, if you extend your loan repayment term, you could end up paying a higher amount of total interest over time than with your existing mortgage. This can occur even if you qualify for a lower interest rate since you'd be paying interest over a longer period. You can avoid this by choosing a refinance loan with a shorter repayment term. Or you may decide you're willing to pay more interest over the life of your loan in exchange for a reduced monthly payment.
Second, you'll need to consider closing costs, which are upfront fees to pay when you refinance your mortgage. The Ascent's research revealed that closing costs on a refinance loan for a median value home total anywhere from $5,000 to $12,500. However, your closing fees will depend on the specific amount of your mortgage, your location, and your lender.
You should eventually make up for these closing costs due to your lower monthly payments -- but that can take time. If you save $200 per month by refinancing and pay $6,000 in closing costs, it would take 2.5 years to break even. It's important to run the numbers and consider whether you'll stay in your home long enough for refinancing to pay off.
Generally speaking, refinancing can make a lot of sense if you don't intend to move within the next few years and you're able to reduce your mortgage's interest rate by 1% or more. Since mortgage refinance rates are now sitting near record lows, many borrowers will find that it's a good time to refinance. This especially holds true if you have a great credit score and a low debt-to-income ratio, because that way, you're more likely to qualify for the best deals out there.
If you're ready to refinance, contact a few different mortgage refinance lenders to get some offers. You may find that while one lender offers a better rate, another offers much lower closing costs. Comparing your choices is a good way to ultimately walk away with the most savings.
Chances are, interest rates won't stay put at multi-decade lows for much longer. That's why taking action today is crucial, whether you're wanting to refinance and cut your mortgage payment or you're ready to pull the trigger on a new home purchase.
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