Today's mortgage and refinance rates: May 26, 2021 | Rates fluctuate

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Some mortgage and refinance rates have decreased since last Wednesday, while others have increased or stayed the same. None of the shifts are drastic, though.

Despite fluctuations, rates are still low across the board. So it could be a good day to apply for preapproval and lock in a low rate.

You’ll probably want to apply for a fixed-rate mortgage rather than an adjustable-rate one. Fixed rates are starting lower than adjustable rates right now, and you won’t risk your rate increasing in a few years.

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Today’s mortgage rates: Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate today
15-year fixed2.48%
30-year fixed3.36%
7/1 ARM4.12%
10/1 ARM3.84%
30-year FHA2.86%
VA mortgage loan2.75%

Conventional rates from; government-backed rates from RedVentures.

Learn more and get offers from multiple lenders »

You can lock in a 15-year fixed rate, 30-year FHA rate, or VA rate for under 3% today.

Rates for conventional mortgages, which you may consider “regular mortgages,” are already low. But you can usually get an even better rate with a government-backed mortgage through the FHA or VA, depending on which term length you pick. Government mortgages are great options if you qualify.

Today’s refinance rates: Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate today
15-year fixed2.66%
30-year fixed3.74%
7/1 ARM4.34%
10/1 ARM4.42%
30-year FHA2.85%
VA mortgage loan2.77%

Conventional rates from; government-backed rates from RedVentures.

Compare offers from refinancing lenders »

The lowest refinance rate today is the 15-year fixed rate, but the 30-year FHA and VA mortgage rates aren’t much higher.

How to get a low mortgage rate

It could be a great time to get a fixed-rate mortgage, but you don’t necessarily have to rush. Mortgage rates should stay low for the foreseeable future, so you probably have time to improve your finances. When you have a strong financial profile, lenders offer you lower rates.

To get the lowest mortgage rate possible, consider working to improve your finances. Here are some tips for securing a good mortgage rate:

  • Increase your credit score. Most importantly, be sure to make all your payments on time. You may want to request a copy of your credit report to review your report for any errors that could be hurting your score.
  • Save more for a down payment. Depending on which type of home loan you get, you may need between 0% and 20% for a down payment. But a bigger down payment usually results in a better rate. Because rates should stay low for a while, you likely have time to save more.
  • 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 (although it depends on the type of mortgage), but you’ll get a better rate with a lower ratio. To improve your ratio, pay down debts or consider opportunities to increase your income.

If your finances are in a good place, you could get a low mortgage rate now. But if not, you have plenty of time to make improvements to get a better rate.

Mortgage and refinance rates trends

Mortgage rate trends

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.48%2.49%2.44%
30-year fixed3.36%3.36%3.31%
7/1 ARM4.12%4.16%4.05%
10/1 ARM3.84%4.00%3.85%
30-year FHA2.86%2.73%2.90%
VA mortgage loan2.75%2.72%2.69%

Most mortgage rates have decreased since last Wednesday, but 30-year fixed rates have stayed the same and VA rates are up by three basis points. Rates have fluctuated since this time last month.

Refinance rate trends

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.66%2.68%2.65%
30-year fixed3.74%3.75%3.64%
7/1 ARM4.34%4.34%4.46%
10/1 ARM4.42%4.67%4.51%
30-year FHA2.85%2.72%2.86%
VA mortgage loan2.77%2.73%2.70%

Refinance rates have wavered since last Wednesday and since this time last month.

How do 15-year fixed mortgage rates work?

If you get a 15-year fixed mortgage, it will take you 15 years to pay down your mortgage, and your interest rate will remain the same the whole period. 

You’ll make higher monthly payments with a 15-year fixed mortgage than a 30-year fixed mortgage because you’ll pay off the same loan principal over fewer years. 

However, it will be less expensive to take out a 15-year fixed mortgage than a 30-year fixed mortgage. You’ll pay off the loan in half the time and you’ll get a better interest rate to boot.  

How do 30-year fixed mortgage rates work?

If you take out a 30-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay the same rate for 30 years. A 30-year term comes with a higher interest rate than a 15-year term.

You’ll pay less per month with a 30-year fixed mortgage than with a shorter term because you’re splitting up your payments over more years.

However, it will cost you more in interest with a 30-year term than with a shorter term, as you’re paying a higher interest rate for longer. 

How do ARMs work?

An adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, locks in your rate for a predetermined amount of time. Then your rate will increase or decrease periodically. For example, your rate will stay the same for the first 10 years with a 10/1 ARM, then fluctuate once per year.

ARM rates are currently at historic lows, but fixed rates are even lower. It may be a good time to secure a low rate with a fixed mortgage. You also won’t risk your rate increasing in the future, as you would with an ARM.

If you’re thinking about getting an ARM, discuss with your lender what your rates would be if you chose a fixed-rate mortgage versus an ARM.

How do government-backed mortgages work?

We’re also showing rates for FHA and VA mortgages, two types of government-backed mortgages.

Government mortgages are backed by federal agencies. The government pays the lender if you default on your payments.

Government-backed home loans are less risky for lenders than conventional mortgages, so the companies have more lenient requirements for your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, or down payment. Government mortgages also come with lower interest rates, so these mortgages can be great deals if you’re eligible. Here are your options:

  • FHA mortgage: FHA loans are mostly for people with lower credit scores. But the rules about who qualifies are more lax than with VA and USDA loans.
  • VA mortgage: You may qualify if you’re an active military member or veteran.
  • USDA mortgage: You’re eligible if you live in a rural area and fall under a certain income limit.

Mortgage and refinance rates by state

Check the latest rates in your state at the links below. 

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Washington DC
West Virginia

About the authors

Laura Grace Tarpley is an editor at Personal Finance Insider, covering mortgages, refinancing, and lending. She is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF). Over her five years of covering personal finance, she has written extensively about ways to navigate loans.

Ryan Wangman is a reviews fellow at Personal Finance Insider reporting on mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, bank reviews, and loans. In his past experience writing about personal finance, he has written about credit scores, financial literacy, and homeownership.

Best Mortgage Rates Today: Wednesday May 26, 2021

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