Today's mortgage and refinance rates: February 24, 2021 | Rates rise

Since last Wednesday, most mortgage and refinance rates have ticked up. Overall, rates are still at historic lows. 

Mat Ishbia, CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, told Insider that you’re probably going to get a preferable deal with a fixed-rate mortgage than with an adjustable-rate mortgage.

Fixed rates are lower than adjustable rates right now, and you’ll have the chance of an ARM rate increase down the road. You may want to secure a low rate for 15 or 30 years while possible.

Mortgage rates on Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.49%2.4%2.32%
30-year fixed3.3%3.19%3.09%
7/1 ARM4.31%4.37%3.98%
10/1 ARM4.18%3.95%3.98%

Rates from

Rates on fixed mortgages and 10/1 ARMs have increased since last week, and all rates are up over the past month. The rates on 7/1 ARMs have decreased slightly since last Wednesday. All rates remain at striking lows.  

 We’re displaying the average rates nationwide for conventional mortgages, which may be what you consider “standard mortgages.” If you qualify, you might get an improved rate with a government-backed mortgage through the FHA, VA, or USDA.

Overall, mortgage rates remain at historic lows. Low rates frequently indicate a struggling economy. As the US continues to grapple with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, mortgage rates will probably remain low.

Refinance rates on Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.81%2.63%2.58%
30-year fixed3.72%3.58%3.6%
7/1 ARM4.82%4.72%4.42%
10/1 ARM4.7%4.52%4.48%

Rates from

Since last Wednesday, all mortgage refinance rates have slightly increased. You can still get a rate below 5% to refinance an adjustable-rate mortgage.

Top ways to obtain a low mortgage rate

Today might be an excellent opportunity to secure a low mortgage rate. Though most rates for both fixed and adjustable mortgages have surged since last week, they remain at all-time lows.  

However, you don’t need to worry about rates increasing soon, as they will likely stay low for the next several months, if not years. There’s no rush to apply for a mortgage or refinance. You have the opportunity to take some time to improve your financial situation and get a better rate. 

To snag the best possible rate, consider these steps before applying:  

  • Increase your credit scoreStart by making timely payments, paying off debts, or letting your credit age. You’ll get an improved interest rate with a higher score, and many lenders will offer you a better rate with a score of 700 or higher. 
  • Save more for a down paymentYou may be able to put down as little as 3% if you’re aiming for a conventional mortgage, but the lowest amount will depend on which type of mortgage you want. You’ll likely secure an improved 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. Many lenders want to see a DTI ratio of 36% or less. To better your ratio, pay down debts or find ways to increase your income. 

You can secure a low rate today if you’re happy with your financial situation, though you still have time if you need to better your financial profile. 

How 15-year fixed mortgage rates work

With a 15-year fixed mortgage, it will take you 15 years to pay off your loan, and your interest rate will remain constant for your entire term. 

You’ll pay less overall with a 15-year term than a 30-year term. You’ll pay off the mortgage 15 years earlier, and you’ll receive a lower interest rate to boot. 

On the other hand, you’ll fork over more per month with a 15-year fixed mortgage than with a 30-year fixed mortgage. You’ll pay off the same loan principal in half the time. 

How 30-year fixed mortgage rates work

If you get a 30-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay down your mortgage over 30 years, and you’ll pay a locked-in interest rate for the life of your loan.

You’ll pay more total interest with a 30-year fixed mortgage than with a shorter term because you’re paying a higher interest rate for an extended period. 

On a positive note, you’ll pay less monthly with a 30-year term than a 15-year term because you’re dividing up your payments over a longer amount of time.  

How ARMs work

An adjustable-rate mortgage, often referred to as an ARM, will lock in your rate for a set period. Then your rate will fluctuate regularly. A 10/1 ARM keeps your rate the same for a decade, then bumps it up or down once per year.

You might still prefer a fixed-rate mortgage, even though ARM rates are at all-time lows. You can lock in a low rate for 15 or 30 years without gambling on an increased future rate with an ARM.

If you’re thinking about getting an ARM, ask your lender what your rates would be if you chose a fixed-rate versus an adjustable-rate mortgage.

Ensure you have a secure financial situation before getting a mortgage or refinancing. You still have time to rectify your financial portfolio, as rates will likely stay low for a while. 

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 Tuesday, February 23 »

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