Current Mortgage Rates for January 2023

Find the best rates in your area below

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How to use our mortgage rate tool

You’ll need six pieces of information to start comparing rates:

ZIP code
  • Rates vary based on where you live
Loan purpose
  • Compare purchase or refinance rates
Home value
  • Use the estimated price of the home you’re buying for a purchase rate
  • Use our home value estimator for an idea of your home’s worth for a refinance
Down payment
  • Type in the dollar amount of your down payment for a home purchase
  • Use your current loan balance for a refinance
Property use
  • Check rates for a primary home, a second home or even an investment property
Credit score

 

After spiking above 7% in November of 2022, mortgage rates are finally trending lower in 2023, and the 2023 forecast for mortgage rates indicates they will fall even further. The Mortgage Bankers Association forecasts that rates will continue to decline to 5.4% by the end of the year, which is welcome news for homebuyers still reeling from the sticker shock of rates that more than doubled in only six months from spring to fall of 2022.

What are the mortgage rate trends in 2023?

Despite the gradual decline in rates, consumers may have to contend with ups and downs throughout 2023. Mortgage rates usually fluctuate week-to-week and month-to-month, and even though they’ve been trending down, they could stay where they’re currently at through the majority of 2023, according to Jacob Channel, senior economist for LendingTree.

Freddie Mac publishes the weekly Primary Market Mortgage Survey (PMMS) and is forecasting rates will drop to 6.2% by the end of 2023. That may give homeowners stuck with 7%+ rates at the peak a glimmer of hope of refinancing to a lower rate.

How to get the lowest mortgage rates

There are six steps you can take to get your lowest rate:

  1. Boost your credit score to 740 or higher. 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, keep in mind that 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 you should compare mortgage rates

The main reason to compare mortgage rates is to save money. A recent LendingTree study found that homebuyers in the nation’s largest metro areas saved an average of $63,151 over the lifetime of their loans by comparing offers from different lenders.

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 to get a mortgage loan

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 an analysis of your home’s value or price. The home appraisal is completed by a third party to give an unbiased opinion of how much the home is worth.

How mortgage rates are determined

There are seven primary factors that determine your mortgage rate:

  1. Your credit score. The higher your score, the lower your rate.
  2. Your down payment amount. Lenders may 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. Interest rates on government-backed refinance programs offered by the FHA and VA tend to be lower than conventional loan rates.
  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 U.S. Treasury bond yields can influence whether mortgage rates go up or down.

Should I refinance my mortgage?

A refinance makes sense if you can recoup your closing costs before you plan to sell your home. In lending terms, this is called your “break-even point,” and it’s calculated by dividing your total closing costs by your monthly savings. For example, if it costs you $5,000 to save $200 per month, your break-even point is 25 months. As long as you plan to stay in the home for more than 25 months, you’ll save money by refinancing your mortgage.

Which mortgage loan type is best?

15-year fixed-rate vs. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage

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.

Bottom line:

  • A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is the best choice if you want the lowest predictable monthly mortgage payment.
  • A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is the best option if can afford the higher payment and want to pay your loan off quicker.

5/1 ARM vs. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage

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 other 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.

Bottom line: 

  • A 5/1 ARM makes sense if you plan to move or refinance before the low-rate initial period ends.
  • A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is best if you don’t want any fluctuations in your monthly house payment.

 

10/1 ARM vs. 5/1 ARM

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. A 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.

Bottom line:

  • A 10/1 ARM is worth if you want a lower payment than current 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and prefer a longer time period before the rate adjusts.
  • A 5/1 ARM is typically the best way to go if you want bigger savings than the 10/1 ARM rates allow and plan to move or refinance before the initial low-rate period is over.

 

Frequently asked questions

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.