Today's mortgage and refinance rates: March 8, 2021 | Rates decrease

Today's mortgage and refinance rates: March 8, 2021 | Rates decrease

March 8, 2021

Mortgage and refinance rates have dropped since last Monday, so it could be a good day to apply for a mortgage.

Mat Ishbia, CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, told Insider that fixed-rate mortgages are preferable to adjustable-rate mortgages right now.

Fixed rates are currently starting lower than adjustable rates, and you risk your rate increasing in the future with an ARM. You might want to lock in a low rate while you can.

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Refinance rates for Monday, March 8, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.79%2.95%2.58%
30-year fixed3.72%3.91%3.47%
7/1 ARM4.85%4.88%4.51%
10/1 ARM4.76%4.81%4.24%

Rates from Money.com

Refinance rates have gone down since last Monday, but they’ve increased since this time last month.

Overall, refinance rates are still at historic lows. Low rates typically signify a struggling economy. As the US continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, rates will likely stay low.

Mortgage rates for Monday, March 8, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.5%2.6%2.33%
30-year fixed3.36%3.57%3.14%
7/1 ARM4.48%4.61%4.05%
10/1 ARM4.19%4.37%3.84%

Rates from Money.com

Mortgage rates have dropped across the board since last Monday, but they’ve gone up since last month.

We’re showing you the average rates nationwide for conventional mortgages, which may be what you consider “regular mortgages.” You may qualify for a better rate with a government-backed mortgage through the FHA, VA, or USDA.

How to lock in a low mortgage rate

Mortgage and refinance rates are at historic lows today, so it may be a good time to lock in a rate.

You might not need to hurry if you aren’t ready to buy or refinance yet, though. Rates will likely stay relatively low for months, if not years. You have time to improve your finances and get a better interest rate. Consider the following steps:

  • Boost your credit score by making payments all your bill payments on time. You could also pay down debts or let your credit age.
  • Save more for a down payment.  You may be able to put down as little as 3% on a conventional mortgage, but the minimum down payment will depend on which type of mortgage you want. Most lenders reward larger down payments with lower interest rates.
  • Lower your debt-to-income ratio. Your DTI ratio is the amount you pay toward debts each month, divided by your gross monthly income. You can improve your rate by lowering your ratio. To improve your ratio, pay down debts or consider ways to increase your income.
  • Choose a government-backed mortgage. You may think about a USDA loan (for low-to-moderate income borrowers buying in a rural area), a VA loan (for military members and veterans), or an FHA loan (not designated for any particular group). These mortgages often come with lower interest rates than conventional mortgages. Additionally, a down payment isn’t required for USDA or VA loans.

You can lock in a low rate now if your finances are in good shape, but you don’t need to rush to get a mortgage or refinance if you’re not prepared.

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15-year fixed rates

With a 15-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay off your loan over 15 years and pay a locked-in interest rate the entire term.

You’ll shell out higher monthly payments with a 15-year term than a longer term because you’ll pay off the same mortgage principal in half the time. 

However, it will cost less to take out a 15-year fixed mortgage than a 30-year term in the long run. You’ll pay off the mortgage 15 years earlier, and you’ll get a lower interest rate to boot.   

30-year fixed rates

With a 30-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay off your loan over 30 years, and you’ll lock in your interest rate for the entire 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 15-year term, as you’re paying a higher interest rate for longer. 

Adjustable rates

With an adjustable-rate mortgage, you’ll lock in your rate for an agreed-upon amount of time. Then your rate will fluctuate regularly. A 7/1 ARM keeps your rate constant for seven years, then your lender will alter your rate annually. 

ARM rates are currently at all-time lows, but you still may want to go with a fixed-rate mortgage. You can avoid the hassle of a potential future rate increase with an ARM and lock in a low rate for the long term. 

If you’re considering getting an ARM, find out from your lender what your rates would be if you chose a fixed-rate versus an adjustable-rate mortgage.

Mortgage and refinance rates by state

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

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
Washington DC
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

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

Laura Grace Tarpley is the associate editor of banking and mortgages at Personal Finance Insider, covering mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. She is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF). Over her four years of covering personal finance, she has written extensively about ways to save, invest, and navigate loans.

See the mortgage rates for Sunday, March 7 »

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