Mortgage rates fall in August 2019

White house on top of money with current mortgage rates

Anyone out to buy or refinance a home this month will find that current mortgage rates have fallen since this time last year.

That means it's best to shop for a mortgage now, while mortgage rates are still historically low.

The average interest rate on a conventional 30-year fixed-rate home loan is 3.81%. That's down more than a full percentage point from last year. And it's close to the record low of 3.50% we saw in December 2012.

Remember, that's the average cost of financing a home. Savvy borrowers with decent credit can almost always pay a quarter to half of a point less.

Spend a few minutes searching our extensive database for the best current mortgage rates from dozens of lenders in your area. You'll see what we mean.


National Average Mortgage Rates

Type of loan Current average Record-low average Established
30-year fixed rate 3.81% 3.50% Dec. 5, 2012
15-year fixed rate 3.15% 2.75% May 1, 2013
30-year fixed jumbo 3.78% 3.54% Sept. 7, 2016
5/1 ARM 3.65% 2.63% May 1, 2013

The importance of comparison shopping

A report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that nearly half of Americans seriously consider only one lender or broker before applying for a mortgage. And about 75% fill out an application with only one lender.

We need to be doing more comparison shopping than that, especially when interest rates begin to rise. Comparison shopping for a great rate can save you thousands — hundreds of thousands in some cases — over the life of the loan.

RATE SEARCH: Compare the best mortgage rates.


Pay attention to your loan estimate

Right after you apply for a mortgage, you'll receive a new form called a Loan Estimate.

It was designed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to be an easier-to-understand replacement for the lender-created Good Faith Estimates borrowers had been receiving.

It explains the key terms, from interest rates to closing costs, and ensures you're getting the home loan your lender promised.


Where mortgages rates are headed

Mortgage rates were expected to rise this year, but that hasn't been the case.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit 5.10% in November 2018, the highest rate we've seen in years. But it has fallen to just 3.81% today.

It's difficult to predict where mortgage rates will go from here. But they are closely tied to the 10-year Treasury yield, and the current expectation that the economy is going to slow could keep rates low.

Since mortgage rates are notably cheaper than they were a year ago, refinancing could be a smart option right now.

In addition, home loans are relatively easy to get.

Homebuyers who qualified for conventional loans had an average FICO credit score of 754 in June 2019. That's down from a high of 763 in 2012, according to Ellie Mae.

The average FICO score for homeowners who refinanced through a conventional loan was 742 in June, down from a high of 748 at the end of 2012.

FHA loans clearly helped borrowers with too much debt and lower credit scores.

The average FICO score for those homebuyers has fallen from 718 at the end of 2012 to 675 in June 2019 for a purchase, 662 for a refinance.

Those are exactly the kinds of trends that help borrowers land the loans they need.

RATE SEARCH: Shop the best mortgage rates.

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