Best 30-Year Mortgage Rates for May 2024

If you’re ready to buy a home or a new property, you’re probably in the market for a mortgage. A mortgage is a legal document you sign to obtain financing to purchase a home or property, giving the lender the right to take ownership of that property if you can’t pay back the loan. That might sound intimidating, but mortgages are one of the most common types of loans. They’re usually the largest loan a person takes out in their lifetime.

The best 30-year mortgage rates are usually lower than 4%, and the average mortgage rate nationally on a 30-year fixed mortgage is 3.86% as of January 2020. However, mortgage rates have gone as low as 3.32% and as high as 18.39% in the past. Personal mortgage rates are determined by your financial health, monetary policy and economic factors.

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Current 30-year mortgage rates

Product Interest Rate APR
30-Year Fixed RateN/AN/A
30-Year Jumbo RateN/AN/A
30-Year VA RateN/AN/A
30-Year FHA RateN/AN/A

Rates data as of

5 best 30-year mortgage lenders of 2020

  • Quicken Loans: Best for borrowers with bad credit
  • Wells Fargo: Best range of mortgage products
  • Chase Mortgage: Best educational tools for first-time home buyers
  • Bank of America: Best for online applications
  • Citibank Mortgage: Most widely available

Quicken Loans – Best for borrowers with bad credit

Quicken Loans is the largest online retail mortgage lender in the U.S. Although it is an online lender, Quicken will still conduct a thorough inspection of your financial health before issuing you a loan. You typically need a credit score of at least 620 to qualify for a conventional loan. However, in some cases Quicken can issue certain types of government-backed loans for people with lower credit scores.

Wells Fargo – Best range of mortgage products

Wells Fargo & Company is a multinational financial services firm that provides banking services in addition to loans and investment products. As a “big box” provider, Wells Fargo has one of the biggest selections of mortgage and home refinancing products on the market.

Chase Mortgage – Best educational tools

Chase Mortgage is the home lending branch of JPMorgan Chase & Co., a multinational investment bank. Chase Mortgage has designed its brand to cater to younger customers, so it has a wide selection of online tools to help first-time home buyers make smart mortgage decisions.

Bank of America – Fastest approvals

Another large multinational investment bank, Bank of America offers many of the same products as other extensive financial-services corporations. With the Bank of America Digital Mortgage Experience®, customers can prequalify for an estimated mortgage, shop for a home and apply for financing online, thereby expediting the approval process.

Citibank Mortgage – Most widely available

Citibank is the consumer-facing division of the multinational financial services firm Citigroup. While most other lenders operate regionally — even many of the largest players — Citibank’s mortgages are available throughout the country. The bank also offers discounts to its own customers and looks at alternative credit data to qualify borrowers.

Compare the 5 best 30-year mortgage lenders of 2020

ProviderRateAPRMin Down Payment
Quicken Loans3.125%3.383%3%
Wells Fargo2.625%2.745%3%
Chase Mortgage2.625%2.706%3%
Bank of America2.875%3.062%3%
Citibank Mortgage2.75%2.961%3%

What is a 30-year Mortgage?

The most popular are conventional term mortgages with repayment periods of either 15 or 30 years. Paying back a mortgage means paying the principal balance, accrued interest and other possible charges in installments each month until the debt is fully repaid. Simply put, a 30-year mortgage is a home loan that you pay off completely after 30 years. Most 30-year mortgages have a fixed interest rate, so they never change over the lifetime of the loan. However, you can also obtain a 30-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).

What are the pros and cons of a 30-year mortgage?

Pros of a 30-year mortgage

One of the biggest perks of a 30-year conventional mortgage is the lower monthly payment when compared to other loan terms. This type of loan has a longer timeline for repayment, which results in these mortgages having considerably lower monthly payments than the 15-year alternative. 

Another advantage of this type of loan is that your interest rate and payments are locked in. When you sign your mortgage documents, you know what your monthly payment will be for the entirety of your mortgage. Unlike adjustable-rate mortgages, the payments on these conventional loans don’t ebb and flow with the economy. 

These lower and more stable monthly payments can be beneficial for homeowners. First, borrowers may be able to afford more than they would with a 15-year mortgage. The lower monthly payment also leaves more flexibility in the budget. Finally, the locked-in payment amount makes it easier to make a long-term financial plan.

Cons of a 30-year mortgage

Though the 30-year conventional mortgage is the most popular option for borrowers, there are a few downsides to this type of loan. The first issue is that these 30-year mortgages tend to come with higher interest rates than the 15-year alternative. 

That, along with the fact that you’ll be paying off the loan for a much longer period of time, results in borrowers paying significantly more in interest over the life of the loan. The difference in the interest rate between a 30-year and 15-year mortgage is usually around half a percent. This is usually equitable to a difference of tens of thousands of dollars. 

The higher interest rate is the primary downside of the 30-year mortgage, but there are a few others. The fixed interest rate means borrowers with these loans can’t take advantage of fluctuating low interest rates in the same way those with an adjustable-rate mortgage would. 

These types of loans can also result in borrowers buying homes more expensive than they can really afford because the lower monthly payment draws them in.

Fees associated with a 30-year mortgage

There are many costs that come with buying a home. In addition to some of the more well-known costs of a mortgage, such as your down payment, principal and interest payments, there are also additional fees you’ll likely pay. 

Some of the common fees include:

  • Appraisal fee: The cost of having an appraiser estimate the value of the home 
  • Home inspection fee: The cost of hiring a home inspector to look over the house and find any potential problems
  • Loan origination fee: The amount you’ll pay to the lender in exchange for writing your mortgage
  • Application fee: A fee you’ll pay alongside your mortgage application
  • Credit report fee: The cost of having your lender run your credit report and score
  • Recording fee: The amount you’ll pay to your local government to change the name on the property’s deed
  • Document preparation fee: The fee you’ll pay for the preparation of your mortgage documents
  • Title insurance fee: The amount you’ll pay the title insurance company to insurance the transaction

Depending on the price of the home, you may pay anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars in fees. Most of these additional expenses will be wrapped into the category of closing costs, which traditionally run between 2% to 5% of the home’s sale price. So for a house with a sale price of $250,000, your closing costs will likely run between $5,000 and $12,500.

Historical 30-year mortgage rates

The average rate on a 30-year conventional mortgage reached its lowest level ever in 2020. Rates fluctuate as a result of the economy and the policies enacted by the federal government. 

When the economy is thriving, the Federal Reserve increases rates, which trickle down and affect mortgage rates. During times of economic downturn, it drops rates to encourage borrowing, which does the same. 

Other factors affect mortgage rates, too, like demand on lenders for new loans. The demand when rates are low can cause lenders to raise their interest rates temporarily to slow the flow of loan applications. This tends to happen when rates drop significantly in a short period of time. 

In the past 30 years, the lowest average rate prior to 2020 was in 2012, when the average rate was 3.32%. Rates peaked in 1981, when the average was 18.39%.

Compare 30-year mortgages to other mortgage types

30-year vs 15-year fixed rate mortgage

A 15-year mortgage is borrowed and repaid the same way as a 30-year mortgage. The only difference is that a 15-year mortgage is fully repaid in 15 years. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of loan, so choosing which one is right for you depends on your financial situation. A 15-year mortgage will nearly always have a lower interest rate. However, you can expect much higher monthly payments, as you’ll have to repay the loan faster. Meanwhile, a 30-year mortgage has much lower monthly payments, but often come with a higher interest rate.

30-year conventional vs 30-year jumbo mortgage

A 30-year jumbo mortgage is a mortgage you use to finance a property that is too expensive to buy with a conventional mortgage. Jumbo mortgages are much riskier investments for lenders, so they usually have strict underwriting requirements for issuing them. Most people who take out jumbo mortgages have a high annual income and an excellent credit score. Some lenders may require you to show that you have enough of a cash reserve to cover mortgage payments. Jumbo loans are not usually a good idea for regular home buyers.

30-year fixed rate mortgage vs 30-year adjustable-rate mortgage

Although 30-year fixed rate mortgages are more popular, you can also choose a 30-year adjustable rate mortgage. An ARM will have a low, fixed interest rate for a set number of years. Then, it will switch to an interest rate that adjusts based on economic conditions.

ARMs may be a good idea if you only intend to spend a few years in your new home or intend to pay off your mortgage quickly. It is also possible that you will pay less in interest with an ARM than with a fixed-rate mortgage. However, ARMs are also complex and risky. You can’t predict future interest rates, so you could pay substantially more in the long term.

The bottom line

For first-time home buyers, a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage from a large reputable provider like Bank of America or Chase is usually a good option. If you have a decent credit history and a large enough down payment, you can expect to make reasonably affordable monthly payments. If your financial picture isn’t ideal, you may consider going with an online lender or another non-traditional option to get your foot in the door. Individuals looking to refinance their homes or make a real estate investment may consider shorter-term mortgages. High-income individuals may also benefit from jumbo loans or other types of mortgage products, like those provided by Wells Fargo.