Mortgage rates fall in August 2017

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 are slightly lower than they were at this time last month.

That's surprising, considering that rates were expected to move higher this year.

But 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 4.04%.

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 4.04% 3.50% Dec. 5, 2012
15-year fixed rate 3.27% 2.75% May 1, 2013
30-year fixed jumbo 4.03% 3.54% Sept. 7, 2016
5/1 ARM 3.49% 2.63% May 1, 2013

The importance of comparison shopping

A recent 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.

8 critical questions Loan Estimates answer

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

The Federal Reserve is expected to withdraw any support of the mortgage market this year, causing mortgage costs to steadily increase. Yet that hasn't been what we've seen quite yet.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit 4.16% in early July but has fallen to 4.04% today.

 

The 7 biggest mortgage mistakes

Dodging these pitfalls will make you a happier homebuyer now and more satisfied homeowner down the road. You'll know that you got the best possible mortgage and won't be overwhelmed by unexpected costs.

 

In addition, home loans are becoming easier to get.

Homebuyers who qualified for conventional loans had an average FICO credit score of 763 in 2012, according to Ellie Mae.

By 2015, that had fallen to 754, and that's about where it remained for all of last year.

The average FICO score for homeowners who refinanced through a conventional loan fell from 748 at the end of 2012 to 739 at the end of 2016.

In June 2017, that moved to 729 for a conventional refinance, 754 for a purchase.

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

The average FICO score for those homebuyers fell from 718 at the end of 2012 to 686 at the end of 2016. In June 2017, it was at 683 for an FHA purchase and 647 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.