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Lenders base mortgage interest rates on the benchmark interest rate, along with other factors such as credit score, loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, size of the loan, type of loan and loan term. However, there are ways you can get better rates.

Here are the current mortgage rates as well as how to get the best rate and deal when you’re ready to shop for a mortgage.

Compare current mortgage rates

As of July 23, the average annual percentage rate (APR) for a 30-year fixed mortgage is 7.29%. This is down from 7.39% the month prior and significantly higher than the 5.8% rate we saw at the end of 2022.

The average APR of a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage is 6.52% — down from 6.66% the month before. This is also a decrease from last last year's 6.59%.

See more: Best mortgage lenders

Fixed-rate mortgages

The most common type of mortgage is a fixed-rate mortgage, with roughly 90% of borrowers choosing a 30-year term. A 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage is another option for borrowers — here is how the two compare:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage: This is a stable, long-term home loan that typically provides the advantage of lower monthly payments compared to a shorter term. This is because you’re paying off your loan over a more extended period — in this case, 360 months.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage: This home loan functions the same way as the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage but for half the term. As a result, your monthly payments will be higher. But because you’ll be paying off the loan sooner, you’ll typically save money on interest over the life of the loan. Additionally, interest rates on 15-year mortgages are usually lower than 30-year mortgage rates.

What is an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM)?

An ARM is a type of mortgage where you pay a fixed rate during an initial phase. Afterward, you’ll enter an adjustable-rate period for the remaining duration of the loan.

ARM interest rates are usually lower than conventional fixed rates. If you’re only looking to own your home for a short time or conventional mortgage interest rates are high, then an ARM may be a good option. However, ARMs aren’t right for everyone.

Generally, the shorter the fixed term, the lower the introductory interest rate when it comes to ARMs. Here are some popular ARM types:

  • 5/1 ARM: Probably the most popular ARM, a 5/1 ARM has a fixed rate for five years, and then your rate will adjust once annually for the life of the loan.
  • 7/1 ARM: A 7/1 ARM has a fixed rate for the first seven years, and then your rate will adjust once annually for the life of the loan.
  • 10/1 ARM: A 10/1 ARM has a fixed rate for the first 10 years, and then your rate will adjust once annually for the life of the loan

How to shop for mortgage rates

The first thing you should do before shopping for rates is check your credit score. Experts advise improving your credit score as much as possible beforehand since the better your score, the more likely it is that you’ll qualify for a lower rate.

“Keeping your credit card balances under 20% of the credit limit is the key to maintaining a good score,” says Stephen Rinaldi, a licensed mortgage broker and president of the Rinaldi Group LLC.

Along with getting your credit in order, here are the other steps you should take before getting a mortgage:

  1. Save money for a down payment. The more you can put down on a home, the lower your LTV ratio, which compares your loan size to the value of your home. A low LTV ratio puts you in a better position to get a better rate since lenders will view you as less of a risk. In general, lenders typically view 80% (which is what you’ll have with a 20% down payment) as a good LTV ratio.
  2. Compare rates from multiple lenders. Don’t just accept the rate of the first lender you check out. Shop around online, by phone or in person directly at banks and credit unions, and compare multiple lenders for the best deal.
  3. Get prequalified and preapproved. A mortgage prequalification estimates how much of a mortgage you can afford, taking into account only a small sample of data you provide. During the preapproval process, however, a lender takes a deeper dive into your finances and credit history. The result is a preapproval letter that documents the actual amount the lender is willing to loan you. When you’re ready to take that next step, getting preapproved — and having a preapproval letter to show the seller — is a good idea.

Expert advice: Working with an experienced mortgage broker may also put you at an advantage for a better rate as they can help expedite updates to your credit score, says Rinaldi. “Also, brokers have the flexibility to work with different lenders depending on the client's needs.”

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

The mortgage interest rate is what the lender charges you in return for giving you a loan, exclusive of any fees. It’s essentially the cost of borrowing money.

However, there are other costs involved when you take a loan, such as lender fees, loan origination fees, discount points, closing costs and mortgage insurance. The APR includes the interest rate plus all these other costs and fees associated with taking out your mortgage.

Generally, the higher your credit score, the better your rate will be. So, your best bet is to work on improving your credit as much as possible before applying for a mortgage, such as by paying down existing debt.

You could also qualify for a lower rate by increasing the amount you put down on a home, so start saving for your down payment well in advance if possible.

Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Compare rates and terms from multiple lenders to find the best fit for you. You can also ask your lender about reducing closing costs, fees and other lender-related expenses.

If you don’t have a credit score due to a lack of credit history, you can still get a mortgage — but you’ll need to take extra steps to show lenders you are able to repay a loan.

In most cases, you’ll need to supply paperwork proving you’ve been able to pay your debts and go through an arduous process called manual underwriting where a loan officer reviews your financial documents.

Editor’s Note: This article contains updated information from previously published stories:

Blueprint is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. The information provided is for educational purposes only and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Blueprint has an advertiser disclosure policy. The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone. Blueprint adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.

Jamie Young

BLUEPRINT

Jamie Young is Lead Editor of loans and mortgages at ˽ýӳ Blueprint. She has been writing and editing professionally for 12 years. Previously, she worked for Forbes Advisor, Credible, LendingTree, Student Loan Hero, and GOBankingRates. Her work has also appeared on some of the best-known media outlets including Yahoo, Fox Business, Time, CBS News, AOL, MSN, and more. Jamie is passionate about finance, technology, and the Oxford comma. In her free time, she likes to game, play with her two crazy cats (Detective Snoop and his girl Friday), and try to keep up with her ever-growing plant collection.

Ashley Harrison is a ˽ýӳ Blueprint loans and mortgages deputy editor who has worked in the online finance space since 2017. She’s passionate about creating helpful content that makes complicated financial topics easy to understand. She has previously worked at Forbes Advisor, Credible, LendingTree and Student Loan Hero. Her work has appeared on Fox Business and Yahoo. Ashley is also an artist and massive horror fan who had her short story “The Box” produced by the award-winning NoSleep Podcast. In her free time, she likes to draw, play video games, and hang out with her black cats, Salem and Binx.