Current Mortgage Rates for May 2022

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How to use our mortgage rate tool

You need six pieces of information to start comparing rates:

  1. ZIP code. Rates vary based on where you live.
  2. Loan purpose. Compare purchase or refinance rates.
  3. Home value. Use the estimated price for the home you’re buying or use our home value estimator to see how much your home is worth for a refinance.
  4. Down payment. Type in your down payment amount for a home purchase, or your current loan balance for a refinance.
  5. Property use. You’ll typically get the lowest rates for a primary residence, but can also search for second home and investment property rates.
  6. Credit score. If you’re not sure what your credit score is, get your score for free online.

Current mortgage rates: Are mortgage rates going up or down?

“Since the start of 2022, mortgage rates have risen quickly. Unfortunately, as the year progresses, rates may increase even further,” said Jacob Channel, chief economist for LendingTree.  That may make buying a home even tougher as home prices continue their upward trajectory.

“This has put many would-be buyers in a difficult situation where they can no longer rely on low rates to offset the high asking prices of homes on the market today,” Channel said.

What are the mortgage rate trends in 2022?

“The housing market is hot, and there’s no getting around how rising interest rates can make navigating it difficult for many buyers,” said Channel. “That does not mean that buyers cannot receive a competitive rate on their mortgage – keep in mind that while rates are rising, rates still aren’t particularly high from a historical perspective –nor does it mean that homeownership is an impossible goal for many people,” Channel added.

How do I get the lowest mortgage rates?

There are six steps you can take get the lowest rate:

  1. Boost your credit score to 740 or better. Keep your credit balances low and pay everything on time. Take on a side hustle to pay off debt faster.
  2. Make a bigger down payment or borrow less equity. Your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is a measure of how much of your home’s price you borrow. A bigger down payment or taking a little less cash out may snag you a better rate.
  3. Consider an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). If you plan to move in a few years, an ARM loan features a lower initial rate for a set time period.
  4. Pick a shorter term. Lenders typically charge lower rates for shorter terms such as 15 years. If you can afford the higher monthly payment, you’ll save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan compared to a 30-year fixed-rate loan.
  5. Pay points. A mortgage point is equal to 1% of your loan amount, and paying for points can buy you a lower interest rate.
  6. Shop with three to five lenders. Homeowners that compare loan estimates from at least three to five lenders often get the lowest rates.

Why should I compare mortgage rates?

The main reason to compare mortgage rates is to save money. Studies have shown that failing to shop with multiple lenders for a mortgage costs the average homebuyer about $300 per year and thousands of dollars in lifetime interest charges.

Lenders periodically offer special pricing for specific loan programs, but you might not learn about those programs if you only contact one or two mortgage lenders.

How do I get a mortgage?

There are four basic  steps to getting a mortgage

  1. Know the different loan programs. Learn the minimum mortgage requirements ahead of time to avoid applying for a program you don’t qualify for. Government loan programs offer extra flexibility versus conventional loans, but also come with extra mortgage insurance or guarantee fees.
  2. Fill out a loan application. Lenders vet your entire financial history to determine if you can repay a mortgage. That includes a deep dive into your earnings, employment history, savings and credit history.
  3. Provide financial documents. Everything you disclose on an application has to be verified by documents — pay stubs and W-2s for income, bank statements for savings and a credit report to verify your scores and payment history.
  4. Get a home appraisal. Your loan amount is based on analysis of your home’s value compared to other similar homes. The home appraisal is completed by a third party to give an unbiased opinion of how much the home is worth.

How are mortgage rates determined?

There are seven primary factors that determine your mortgage rate, including:

  1. Your credit score. The higher your score, the lower your rate.
  2. Your down payment amount. Lenders usually offer lower rates with a higher down payment.
  3. Your loan amount. You may get a better rate for a higher loan amount.
  4. Your loan program. Government-backed programs like FHA and VA loans tend to offer lower interest rates than conventional loans.
  5. Your loan term. Shorter terms usually equal lower rates.
  6. Your location. Interest rates vary based on where you live.
  7. Economic factors. Inflation, the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy and the price of U.S. Treasury bond yields can influence whether mortgage rates go up or down.

A mortgage is a loan from a bank or another lending institution that helps you refinance or buy a home. The lender provides funds on your behalf secured by a lien on your home, and you agree to repay the loan plus interest. If you stop making monthly payments, your lender can repossess your home through the foreclosure process and sell it to recover their money.

The Federal Reserve’s monetary policy directly affects adjustable-rate mortgages, as they are tied to an index that moves up and down with the broader economy. The Fed’s policy indirectly impacts fixed-rate mortgages, which typically correlate with the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield.

There are five main types of mortgages:

  • Conventional loans. These loans often require a minimum 620 credit score and 3% down payment. Borrowers who put down less than 20% must pay for private mortgage insurance.
  • FHA loans. You may qualify for an FHA loan, which is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), with as low as a 500 credit score and 10% down payment. You’d only need to put 3.5% down if you have a 580 score or higher.
  • VA loans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) guarantees VA loans to finance homes for military service members, veterans and eligible surviving spouses. Many lenders prefer a 620 credit score and there’s often no down payment required.
  • USDA loans. These loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and cater to homebuyers in designated rural areas. You’re typically not required to make a down payment, but you’ll need to meet income requirements. In many cases, you’ll need a minimum 640 credit score.
  • Non-conforming loans. Also known as “jumbo loans,” non-conforming loans have amounts that exceed conforming loan limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Non-conforming loans usually require a minimum 680 to 700 credit score and 20% down payment.

 

A mortgage annual percentage rate (APR) represents the total cost of borrowing a mortgage (the interest rate plus closing costs and fees), and is expressed as a percentage. A mortgage interest rate — which is also expressed as a percentage — is the base rate you’re charged to borrow your loan.

You should choose a mortgage lender that best suits your financial needs, which is why it’s crucial to shop around. Make sure the lenders you’re choosing from offer the mortgage program you’re interested in, and ask questions to better understand what to expect from your potential relationship with each lender.

As mentioned above, compare interest rates and closing costs before making a decision

Once you’ve selected your lender and are moving through the mortgage application process, you and your loan officer can discuss your mortgage rate lock options. Rate locks can last between 30 and 60 days, or even more. If your loan doesn’t close before your rate lock expires, expect to pay a rate lock extension fee.

You’ll need to apply for mortgage preapproval to get an estimated loan amount you could qualify for. Lenders use the preapproval process to review your overall financial picture — including your assets, credit history, debt and income — to calculate how much they’d be willing to lend you for a mortgage.

You can use the loan amount printed on your preapproval letter as a guide for your house hunting journey. But, be careful not to stretch your budget too thin and borrow to the maximum. That’s because your preapproval amount doesn’t factor in recurring bills that aren’t regularly reported to the credit bureaus — including gas, cellphones and other utilities — so you’ll need to retain enough disposable income to comfortably cover these monthly bills, plus your new mortgage payment.

A discount point — also called a mortgage point — is an upfront fee paid at closing to reduce your mortgage rate. One point is equal to 1% of your loan amount. So if you’re borrowing $300,000 for example, one point would cost you $3,000.

Each mortgage point can usually lower your rate by 12.5 to 25 basis points, which equals 0.125% to 0.25%. However, to get the exact cost of your mortgage point buydown, check Page 2, Section A of your loan estimate.

It’s possible to negotiate a lower interest rate. Use your mortgage offers as leverage and ask each lender about matching your lowest-quoted rate. You should also consider making a larger down payment and paying for mortgage points.

You’ll need to apply for mortgage preapproval to get an estimated loan amount you could qualify for. Lenders use the preapproval process to review your overall financial picture — including your assets, credit history, debt and income — to calculate how much they’d be willing to lend you for a mortgage. 

 

You can use the loan amount printed on your preapproval letter as a guide for your house hunting journey. But, be careful not to stretch your budget too thin and borrow to the maximum — your preapproval amount doesn’t factor in recurring bills that aren’t regularly reported to the credit bureaus, such as gas, cellphones and other utilities, so you’ll need to retain enough disposable income to comfortably cover these monthly bills, plus your new mortgage payment.

A discount point — also called a mortgage point — is an upfront fee paid at closing to reduce your mortgage rate. One point is equal to 1% of your loan amount. So if you’re borrowing $300,000 for example, one point would cost you $3,000. 

 

Each mortgage point can lower your rate 12.5 to 25 basis points, which equals 0.125% to 0.25%.

Which mortgage loan type is best?

A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the most popular type of mortgage because of its affordability and stability. Meanwhile, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage typically comes with a lower interest rate when compared with a 30-year loan. The trade-off with a 15-year term is a significantly higher monthly payment, however, because your repayment term is cut in half.

The 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) can be similar to the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in that it can also have a 30-year repayment term, but there are terms available. What sets 5/1 ARMs apart is that the interest rate is only fixed for the first five years of the term, and then the rate adjusts annually for the remaining 25 years.

Mortgage rates on 5/1 ARMs are often lower than rates on 30-year fixed loans. When the rate starts adjusting after the fixed period ends, it could go up or down. If your rate increases, you’ll need to be financially prepared to either absorb a higher monthly payment amount or refinance into a fixed-rate mortgage.

A 10/1 adjustable-rate mortgage has a longer initial fixed-rate period than a 5/1 ARM. You’d enjoy a stable interest rate for the first 10 years and have a fluctuating rate for the remaining 20 years. An 10/1 ARM might work best for you if you plan to sell your home or apply and qualify for a refinance before the fixed-rate period ends.