Today's mortgage and refinance rates in Wisconsin
Buying a home in Wisconsin
According to Zillow, the typical home value in Wisconsin is lower than the typical value of $259,906 across the US. The typical home value in Wisconsin is $200,295, and Zillow expects it to increase to $214,000 by September 2021.
First-time homebuyer programs in Wisconsin
If you get either a conventional mortgage or FHA mortgage from a participating lender, you may qualify for one of the following programs through the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority:
- WHEDA Easy Close Down Payment Assistance: Receive a loan for up to 6% of your home price to use for a down payment. You'll repay the loan over 10 years and pay the same interest rate as you pay on your mortgage.
- WHEDA Capital Access Down Payment Assistance: You can receive a loan for up to $3,050, or 3% of a conventional mortgage and 3.5% of an FHA mortgage — whichever is greater. You won't pay any interest.
Historic mortgage rates for Wisconsin
By looking at the average mortgage rates in Wisconsin since 2010, you can see trends for 30-year fixed mortgages, 15-year fixed mortgages, and 5/1 adjustable mortgages:
Seeing how today's rates compare to historic Wisconsin mortgage rates may help you decide whether you'd be getting a good deal by getting a mortgage or refinancing now.
How do 30-year fixed mortgage rates work?
A 30-year fixed mortgage comes with a higher interest rate than a shorter-term fixed-rate mortgage. The 30-year fixed rates used to be higher than adjustable rates, but 30-year terms have become the better deal recently.
Your monthly payments on a 30-year term will be lower than on a shorter-term mortgage. You're spreading payments out over a longer period of time, so you'll pay less each month.
You'll pay more in interest in the long term with a 30-year term than you would for a 15-year mortgage, because a) the rate is higher, and b) you'll be paying interest for longer.
How do 15-year fixed mortgage rates work?
The 15-year fixed-rate mortgages are more affordable than 30-year terms in the long run. You'll pay a lower interest rate on a 15-year term, and you'll pay off the mortgage in half the time.
Your monthly payments will be higher for a 15-year mortgage than for a 30-year mortgage, though. You're paying off the same loan principal in a shorter amount of time, so you'll pay more every month.
How do ARMs work?
With an adjustable-rate loan, your rate stays the same for the first few years, then changes periodically. For example, your rate is locked in for the first five years on a 5/1 ARM, then your rate increases or decreases once per year.
ARM rates are at all-time lows right now, but a fixed-rate mortgage is still the better deal. The 30-year fixed rates are comparable to or lower than ARM rates. It could be in your best interest to lock in a low rate with a 30-year or 15-year fixed-rate mortgage rather than risk your rate increasing later with an ARM.
If you're considering an ARM, you should still ask your lender about what your individual rates would be if you chose a fixed-rate versus adjustable-rate mortgage.
Refinancing your mortgage in Wisconsin
Mortgage refinance rates are low these days, so it could be a good time to refinance your current mortgage into one with a lower interest rate — especially if the new rate would be significantly lower.
You might end up refinancing with the same lender that gave you your original mortgage, but it's not always the best idea. A different company could offer you a lower rate the second time around. Shop around for a lender that will offer the best interest rate and charge relatively low fees.
How to get a low interest rate on your mortgage
Here are some tips for landing a good interest rate on your mortgage:
- Save for a down payment. With a conventional loan, you may be able to put down as little as 3%. But the higher your down payment, the lower your rate will likely be. Rates should stay low for a while, so you probably have time to save more.
- Increase your credit score. Many lenders require a minimum credit score of 620 to receive a mortgage. But the higher your score, the better your rate will be. To improve your credit score, be sure to pay all your bills on time. You can also pay down debts or let your credit age.
- Lower your debt-to-income ratio. Your DTI is the amount you pay toward debts each month, divided by your gross monthly income. Most lenders want to see a DTI of 36% or less, but an even lower DTI can result in a better rate. To improve your DTI, pay down debts or figure out whether you can earn more money.
- Choose a USDA or VA loan. If you're eligible, you might consider a USDA loan (for low-to-moderate income borrowers buying in a rural area) or a VA loan (for military members and veterans). These mortgages typically come with lower interest rates than conventional or FHA loans. As an added bonus, you won't need a down payment.
Improving your financial situation and choosing the right type of mortgage for your needs can help you get the best interest rate possible.
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