Current Refinance Rates for October 2020

Advertiser Disclosure |
Editorial Policy Disclosure
 

Current Mortgage Refinance Rates

According to the latest survey of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, these are the current refinance average rates for a 30-year, 15-year fixed and 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) refinance rates among others.

Product Interest Rate APR
30-Year Fixed Rate3.230%3.450%
30-Year FHA Rate3.320%3.540%
30-Year VA Rate3.010%3.200%
30-Year Fixed Jumbo Rate3.270%3.330%
20-Year Fixed Rate3.180%3.430%
15-Year Fixed Rate2.650%2.850%
15-Year Fixed Jumbo Rate2.660%2.700%
10/1 ARM Rate3.170%3.950%
5/1 ARM Rate3.160%4.100%
5/1 ARM Jumbo Rate2.940%4.030%
7/1 ARM Rate3.030%3.970%
7/1 ARM Jumbo Rate3.000%3.930%

Rates data as of 10/23/2020

Refinance rates in today’s environment

Unlike the current conventional mortgage rates trend, mortgage refinance rates are less clear, but as of late, these rates have been on a downward trend from week to week. The national averages for 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed refinances both were down at the end of July, and the average rate on 10-year fixed refis also declined. Refinance rates are at or near historic lows right now, which means you may want to take the leap if you’ve been thinking of refinancing.

Although rates change every day, you may have a bit of time to search around for the best rate. Mortgage experts expect that downward trend to continue throughout 2021, though those rates will fluctuate with demand and the economic changes that organically occur. Fannie Mae projected in May that the average interest rate this quarter would be 3.2%, followed by 3.1% in the third quarter and 3% in the fourth quarter.

Rates could drop even lower in 2021, according to experts, with Fannie Mae forecasting an average of 2.9% for every quarter of 2021.

If you decide to refinance right now, you’ll be in good company. Experts expect the number of people refinancing their home loans to surge to a 17-year high in 2020, which means plenty of people are taking advantage of the rate drop. And why wouldn’t they? Homeowners who aren’t getting the best interest rates on their mortgages are spending hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars each year in unnecessary interest charges.

How coronavirus and the economy affect refinance rates 

Once the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect global markets in early 2020, mortgage rates began to steadily decline, and they have continued that pattern, taking refinance rates down with them. In July 2020, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped below 3% for the first time since 1971.  The same is true for many refinance rates, including the 15-year fixed-rate. The pandemic has caused a level of insecurity about the future that is disrupting the housing market. While rates are indeed dropping, it might be a little difficult for homeowners without traditional means of income or high credit scores to qualify, as lenders are less likely to approve borrowers for loans during an economic downturn. This can make it more difficult to refinance, especially when lenders receive a much higher number of applications as rates drop. 

Still, it’s worth trying to refinance if you’ve been considering it in recent months. After all, rates are so low that you could potentially miss out on significant savings if you skip out. So make sure you shop around and talk to a number of lenders — by doing this, you are much more likely to find one that’s the right fit.

Research methodology

Interest.com chooses to highlight mortgage refinance lenders that offer the best overall experience to borrowers. To determine the best lenders for a refinance, we compare many factors, including APR, term options, borrower requirements and overall availability. 

The lenders featured on our site offer competitive refinance rates and a lineup of products for a diverse range of borrowers. Each one serves a variety of U.S. states with either regional or national lending capability. They’re well-established refinance lenders that offer quality and convenience for diverse customer needs. 

Our goal is to provide reliable and timely information so you can make the best financial decisions for your lifestyle and wallet. We adhere to strict standards to ensure our work is always accurate, and our writers do not receive direct advertiser compensation or influence.

Interest’s guide to understand refinancing

What is mortgage refinance?

Mortgage refinancing allows homeowners to effectively take out a new mortgage to pay off the existing one, replacing their mortgage payment with one at a new and lower rate. There are upfront costs associated with mortgage refinancing, but even with those added fees, the current low interest rates may still lead to significant long term savings. Below some reasons why taking advantage of lower mortgage rates can be beneficial for your wallet:

  • Reduce your monthly payment: You might be able to reduce your monthly payment with a lower interest rate.
  • Change the length of the loan: You could reduce the loan period and pay off your mortgage faster with less in interest in the long term.
  • Change the type of mortgage: Some homeowners want to change the type of mortgage they have, switching from an adjustable to a fixed-rate mortgage or getting rid of FHA insurance.
  • Take advantage of a cash-out refinance: You could refinance an amount higher than your current mortgage, keeping the difference in cash in what is called a cash-out refinance.

When refinancing, you’ll want to pay close attention to today’s mortgage rate and the mortgage rate you’re being offered. This is the amount of interest that you will be charged annually. Since mortgages are such high-value loans, even one-tenth of a percent difference in rate will have an impact.

Why should I refinance?

Refinancing can help you take advantage of lower interest rates or manage your monthly payments. There are several scenarios in which refinancing would make sense. If your financial situation has changed since you took out your mortgage, refinancing can help adjust your mortgage to your needs. 

  • Changes to your financial situation — For example, if your credit score has gone up or you’re finding it harder to budget each month due to high monthly mortgage payments, it may be a good idea to refi. 
  • Getting rid of private mortgage insurance — You may be able to get out of paying mortgage insurance if you’ve built up enough equity in your home, but in some cases, like with federally-backed mortgages that require mortgage insurance for a set number of years, you’ll want to refinance to a new type of loan to do that. 
  • Swapping out terms — If you’re approaching the end of the fixed-rate period of your ARM, you can opt for a fixed-rate loan to avoid fluctuating rates. You can also opt to refinance to a new mortgage term if you need to lower your monthly payments or you want to pay your home off faster.

Cashing out equity — If you need a large sum of money for a home project or bill consolidation, you may want to consider refinancing in order to cash out some of your equity.

Is this the right time to refinance?

The short answer? Yes. Mortgage rates are currently averaging between the high 2% to 3% range, which is far lower than credit cards and even some student loans. Still, you’ll want to calculate your savings yourself to decide whether refinancing makes sense for your situation. You’ll also want to move quickly if you are trying to refinance, as some lenders have started to raise interest rates due to increased demand now that interest rates are so low.

You should also note that when you refinance, you’re taking out a new loan on your home and it comes with new closing costs and other fees, so you’ll also want to be sure the potential savings to you outweigh the refinance costs.

Pro tip: Having excellent credit helps get you the most competitive interest rate, so check your credit score before you begin the application process. It may benefit you to spend a little time beefing up your credit to increase future savings.

Read more about refinancing in 2020

When it makes sense to refinance

Refinancing makes the most sense when you still have a significant amount of time left in your mortgage term. Since there are costs associated with a refi, you want to make sure you have enough time for the money spent to be worth it. 

Refinancing is also best when interest rates are low so that you can take advantage of the best rates and pay less overall. Borrowers who think they could find lower rates or better terms should look into refinancing. 

For example, if switching to a 30-year term from a 15-year fixed-rate loan would help you get a handle on your monthly payments, it may be worth it — even if you pay more overall in interest.

There are a ton of different reasons to refinance, so ultimately the answer of when to refinance will be up to your goals and needs. If you need to refinance quickly after closing on your home because you realize your payments are too high or your employment situation has changed, while it may not make the most sense to someone else to refinance that quickly, it could get you out of a sticky financial situation. And that means it’s the right time for you. 

In general, though, you’ll want to make sure that the rates are low enough to make sense, that you’ve done your due diligence in searching for a lender, that the new terms and conditions will fit your needs and that the new loan helps you to achieve your final goals.

When should you not refinance?

If you plan to sell your home soon or you have a significant amount of equity in your home, the cost of refinancing may not be worth it. 

For example, if your closing costs amount to $5,000 and you decide to roll that in with your current loan amount, how long would it take for you to break even? In other words, will the money you spend on refinancing amount to more than the money you’ll save by refinancing? 

If the answer is yes, it’s probably not a good idea to refinance. It’s tough to break even with the extra costs after refinancing if you plan to unload the property in the near future. You’d have to see a significant drop in rate, or stay in your home significantly longer than you planned to, for that to be the case. So if you’re planning to move soon, you might want to reconsider the plan to refinance.

You may also want to avoid refinancing simply to get a slightly lower interest rate. It takes a significant drop — between 1% and 2% in general — to make the savings worth the extra costs that come with refinancing.  You can use a mortgage refinance calculator to help you determine whether refinancing makes sense. 

How much does it cost to refinance?

As with a regular mortgage, there are significant closing costs involved with a refinance. Closing costs should be within the standard 2% to 5% range and will include fees charged by the lender, title company or attorney — or other third parties, depending on your situation and the type of loan you’re refinancing to. 

You may be able to add your refi closing costs to the loan amount to pay them along with your monthly mortgage payments rather than finding the money for them upfront. This option can prevent you from having to pay a larger lump sum, but can add up in more interest paid over time. 

Just make sure to do your homework and crunch the numbers before you commit to a refinance. What saves you money now may be extremely costly over the long haul. 

Types of mortgage refinancing

Mortgage refinancing comes in many forms, and the terms can sometimes be confusing. Let’s take a look.

Rate and term refinance — This type of refinance allows you to replace your current mortgage with a new mortgage with a different rate, term or both. It does not necessarily change how much you owe, unless you pay down a large lump sum while refinancing.

  • Best for: This can be a helpful option for homeowners who have a mortgage with a high interest rate but can qualify for a new loan at a lower rate, thereby saving money each month and over the life of the loan. Term changes can also be beneficial. If you need to reduce your monthly payments, for example, you might be able to extend your loan. Or, if you want to pay off your loan more quickly, you can shorten your term and pay higher monthly payments with a refinance. You can not take advantage of cashing out the equity you’ve built in your house with this type of loan.

Cash-out refinance — If you have equity built into your home (you owe less on it than the loan amount) refinancing your new loan at an amount higher than your current mortgage allows you to pocket the difference in cash.

  • Best for: This option is best for folks who want to pay down debt with the difference or use the windfall for home repairs or some other large purchase.

Streamline refinance — With streamline refinancing, you’re refinancing an existing FHA-insured mortgage to a loan with a lower rate, and will only be required to produce limited borrower credit documentation and go through limited underwriting. Credit qualifying and non-credit qualifying options apply and the term refers to the documentation and underwriting involved, not the costs of the transaction. To qualify:

  • Your mortgage must be FHA insured
  • Your mortgage must be paid up to date/current
  • The mortgage must be “net tangible benefit” to the borrower, which is based on the loan rate and term.
  • Borrowers can’t get more than $500 out of the mortgage that will be refinanced

Refinancing vs. other types of loans

Mortgage refinancing vs. home equity loans

If you have a large amount of equity in your home and would like to tap into its cash value, you might consider a home equity loan. A home equity loan is when you borrow a fixed amount of money against the equity you’ve built in your home. Homeowners often borrow against their equity to finance large purchases, make home renovations or finance other projects. If you borrow against your home equity you repay the loan over a specified term, but if you don’t repay the loan as agreed, your lender can foreclose on your home.

Home equity loans have limits, though. The amount that you can borrow for a home equity loan usually is limited to between 85-90% of the equity in your home. The loan amount also depends on your income, credit history and your home’s market value.

Mortgage refinancing vs HELOCs

Home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs, are different from mortgage refinancing in that you receive access to a line of credit, similar to a credit card, instead of a lump sum. You can borrow against the line of credit as needed during the draw period and only pay back what you borrow, with interest, once the draw period is up. These flexible loans are good short-term options for homeowners who don’t want to permanently refinance.

With a HELOC, you can borrow what you need when you need it by writing a check or using a credit card connected to the account. HELOCs also may give you tax advantages over home equity loans, but you’ll need to research whether or not you’d qualify for these tax breaks.

Today’s 6 best mortgage refinance lenders

  • Chase – convenience and flexibility
  • Rocket Mortgage – quick online approval
  • SunTrust Bank – wide variety of loan options
  • Bank of America – flexible options with discounts for customers
  • Guaranteed Rate – easy online application
  • Alliant – low equity mortgage loans
  • Navy Federal – good rates for military members

6 best mortgage refinance lenders overview

Chase

Chase’s convenient and flexible mortgages can be applied for in person, on the phone or online. This makes it easy to get mortgage refinancing and find out the lender’s current mortgage interest rates Chase is offering — even if you aren’t near a physical location. Chase has a specific set of refinancing rates separate from its lower mortgage rates.

Rocket Mortgage

If you’re in a pinch and need to get approved for mortgage refinancing quickly, Rocket Mortgage’s fast online approval process will come in handy. Choose from 15- and 30-year repayment periods, in addition to YOURgage®, a custom mortgage that allows you to set the term anywhere between 8 and 29 years.

SunTrust

SunTrust offers a wide variety of refinancing options, including loans in 15- and 30-year terms as well as easier-to-obtain FHA loans and VA loans for veterans. You’ll have to provide personal details to get a more accurate interest rate, since so many variable rate products are available. You’ll need to contact SunTrust to find out what the lender’s mortgage interest rates today are, as mortgage rates are changing rapidly right now.

Bank of America

As one of the major U.S. banks, Bank of America is able to offer a full catalog of mortgage refinancing options. If you’re an existing Bank of America customer, you might also be eligible for discounts. Preferred Rewards clients can get a reduced mortgage origination fee.

Guaranteed Rate

While many banks require you to speak with a representative to get approved for any type of mortgage, Guaranteed Rate lets you do everything online. It’s quick and convenient to get approved for a mortgage refinance. Guaranteed Rate is also more lenient than other providers who might deny you based on your credit score or current financial situation.

Alliant

Alliant is a great mortgage lender for homeowners who want to refinance without a lot of equity. Mortgage refinances are available with as little as 5% equity. Take advantage of this if you’re looking for a cash-out refinance, coupled with a convenient online lending experience.

For military service members, Navy Federal’s mortgage refinance rates are extremely affordable and flexible. If you’re worried about being approved for a better rate, Navy Federal will take alternative factors into consideration, such as a history of making rent payments on time.

The impact of a 0.1% on $1,000

Even small changes in mortgage rates will make a difference in your payments. For every $1,000 of your mortgage, you’ll save even more by refinancing. A mere .1% change on a $300,000 mortgage would make a difference of $228 per year, reducing your payment by up to $684 over three years, and by up to $1,140 over five years.

The final word

Now is a great time to refinance and take advantage of historically low interest rates, even with potential fees or costs involved. Whether you want to lock in a better rate on your existing mortgage, pay off your home faster with a shorter term, use your home’s equity to pay down other debts or invest further in your home, refinancing could be a smart option for you.

Related Links

Angelica Leicht

Mortgage Researcher

Angelica Leicht is a writer and editor who specializes in everything mortgage-related for Interest.com. Her work has spanned topics that include lending product reviews, interest rate trends, racial biases in mortgage lending and the role of fintech in lending practices, and has appeared in publications such as Interest, The Simple Dollar, Bankrate, The Spruce, Houston Press and VeryWell, among others.