Today's mortgage and refinance rates: March 12, 2021 | Rates up

Since last week, almost all mortgage and refinance rates have increased. However, rates remain at all-time lows overall. 

You might think about securing a low rate on a fixed-rate mortgage shortly, given you have a handle on your finances.

Mat Ishbia, CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, told Insider that fixed-rate mortgages are likely a better deal than adjustable-rate mortgages right now. 

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Fixed rates are starting lower than adjustable rates at the moment, and you chance a future rate increase with an ARM. You might want to lock in a low rate while possible.

Today’s mortgage rates: Friday, March 12, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.56%2.5%2.31%
30-year fixed3.46%3.36%3.11%
7/1 ARM4.55%4.48%3.87%
10/1 ARM4.32%4.19%3.82%

Rates from

Since last Friday, every mortgage rate has gone up, and they have increased since this point last month as well. Rates on 10/1 ARMs have risen the most significantly, ticking up by 13 basis points. Rates are still low in general, though.

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

Today’s refinance rates: Friday, March 12, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.87%2.79%2.57%
30-year fixed3.78%3.72%3.42%
7/1 ARM4.84%4.85%4.18%
10/1 ARM4.8%4.76%4.17%

Rates from

Mortgage refinance rates on fixed-rate mortgages and 10/1 ARMs have ticked up since last week. The rates for 7/1 ARMs have decreased by a marginal one basis point. Refinance rates are significantly higher than where they were last month.

In general, refinance rates remain at striking lows. Low rates are often an indicator of an economy in distress. Rates will probably remain low as the US continues to face the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to get a low mortgage rate

Most fixed and adjustable mortgage rates have gone up since last Friday, but they are still at historic lows. You might want to lock in a low mortgage rate now. 

On the other hand, you shouldn’t be overly concerned about a rate increase anytime soon. Rates will likely remain low well into 2021, if not longer, so you don’t need to hurry to get a mortgage or refinance. You have the chance to boost your financial profile and get a better rate.

To obtain an excellent rate, think about these steps before applying:  

  • Improve your credit scoreYou can start by making payments on time, paying off your debts, or letting your credit age. You’ll get a more favorable interest rate with a higher score, and many lenders will lower your rate with a score of at least 700. 
  • Save more for a down paymentYou might be able to shell out as little as 3% if you’re aiming for a conventional mortgage, but the smallest amount will depend on which type of mortgage you want. You’ll likely get a better rate with a higher down payment.
  • Lower your debt-to-income ratio. Your DTI ratio is the amount you pay toward debts each month, divided by your gross monthly income. Most lenders want to see a ratio of 36% or less. To better your ratio, pay down debts or look for ways to boost your income. 
  • Choose a government-backed mortgage. You may consider a USDA loan (aimed at low-to-moderate-income borrowers buying in a rural area), a VA loan (designed 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. As a bonus, you don’t need a down payment for USDA or VA loans.

You can lock in a low rate now if your finances are in order, 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 mortgage rates

With a 15-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay off your mortgage over 15 years, and your interest rate will remain the same the whole time.

You’ll cough up higher monthly payments with a 15-year fixed mortgage than a 30-year fixed mortgage because you’re repaying off the same mortgage principal in half the time. 

On the other hand, a 15-year term will be less expensive than a longer term. You’ll get a lower interest rate and you’ll pay off your mortgage in fewer years. 

30-year fixed mortgage rates

If you take out a 30-year fixed mortgage, it will take you three decades to pay down your mortgage, and your interest rate will stay constant for the entire term. A 30-year fixed mortgage comes with a higher interest rate than a shorter term.

You’ll fork over smaller monthly payments with a 30-year term than with a shorter term because you’re dividing up your payments over an extended amount of time.

In the long run, you’ll pay more total interest with a 30-year term than a 15-year term because you’re paying a higher interest rate for more years.

Adjustable mortgage rates

With an adjustable-rate mortgage, you’ll lock in your rate for a predetermined amount of time. Then your rate will vary periodically. A 7/1 ARM keeps your rate the same for seven years, then your lender will alter your rate once per year. 

ARM rates are now at all-time lows, but you may still prefer 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 thinking about getting an ARM, find out from your lender what your rates would be if you chose a fixed-rate versus an adjustable-rate mortgage.

You can lock in a low rate today. Just make sure you’re financially prepared before making any decisions.

Mortgage and refinance rates by state

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

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Washington DC
West Virginia

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 Thursday, March 11 »

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