Today's mortgage and refinance rates: February 20, 2021 | Rates up

Mortgage and refinance rates have primarily increased since last week, though they remain at historic lows overall. 

Mat Ishbia, CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, told Insider that you’ll likely get a better deal with a fixed-rate mortgage than with an adjustable-rate mortgage.

Ishbia said adjustable rates are currently starting higher than fixed rates. You also risk a future rate increase with an ARM. You may want to secure a low rate while it’s possible.

Mortgage rates on Saturday, February 20, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.42%2.33%2.34%
30-year fixed3.25%3.13%3.13%
7/1 ARM4.12%4.07%4.06%
10/1 ARM4.39%3.85%3.9%

Rates from

Mortgage rates have ticked up since last Saturday, with 10/1 ARM rates making the most significant leap. Rates have also increased slightly since last month, though they are still at striking lows in general. 

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

Overall, mortgage rates are still at historic lows. Low rates frequently signify a floundering economy. Mortgage rates will likely stay low as the US continues to handle the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Refinance rates on Saturday, February 20, 2021

Mortgage typeAverage rate todayAverage rate last weekAverage rate last month
15-year fixed2.75%2.58%2.6%
30-year fixed3.67%3.45%3.54%
7/1 ARM4.41%4.52%4.54%
10/1 ARM4.55%4.25%4.32%

Rates from

Since last Saturday, refinance rates on 15-year fixed, 30-year fixed, and 10/1 adjustable mortgages have gone up. However, rates on 7/1 ARMs have decreased by 11 basis points.

Top tips to obtain a low mortgage rate

Almost all fixed and adjustable mortgage rates have gone up since last week, but they still are at historic lows. You may want to secure a low mortgage rate today. 

Importantly, make sure your finances are in order before applying for a mortgage or refinancing — there’s no need to rush. Rates will probably remain low well into 2021, if not longer, so you have time to improve your financial standing and improve your rate. 

Here are a few ways you can get the lowest possible rate: 

  • Increase your credit scoreMake your payments on time, pay down your debts, or allow your credit to age. You’ll get a better interest rate with a higher score, and many lenders will improve your rate with a score of 700 or higher. 
  • Save more for a down paymentYou might be able to put down as little as 3% if you’re hoping to get a conventional mortgage, but the lowest amount will be contingent on which type of mortgage you require. You’ll probably 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. Many lenders want to see a DTI ratio of 36% or less. To improve your ratio, pay down debts or search for ways to boost your income. 

You can lock in a low rate now if you’re in a good spot financially, though you can still wait if you need time to better your financial profile. 

How do 15-year fixed mortgage rates work?

If you take out a 15-year fixed mortgage, it will take you a decade and a half to pay down your mortgage, and you’ll pay a locked-in interest rate for your whole term. 

You’ll pay less overall with a 15-year fixed mortgage than with a 30-year fixed mortgage. You’ll pay down your mortgage in half of the time and you’ll get a lower interest rate to boot. 

However, you’ll fork over more per month with a 15-year term than with a longer term. You’ll pay off the same loan principal in half of the time.

How do 30-year fixed mortgage rates work?

With a 30-year fixed mortgage, you’ll pay down your mortgage over 30 years with an interest rate that remains constant for the life of the loan.

You’ll dish out less per month with a 30-year fixed mortgage than a 15-year term because you’re splitting up your payments over an extended period.

On the flip side, you’ll pay more more in interest overall with a 30-year term than a 15-year term because you’re paying a higher interest rate for a longer time. 

How do ARMs work?

An adjustable-rate mortgage, commonly known as an ARM, will set your rate for a predetermined period. Then your rate will change periodically. A 10/1 ARM keeps your rate the same for a decade, then bumps it up or down annually.

Though ARM rates are at all-time lows, you might still prefer a fixed-rate mortgage. You can secure a low rate for the long term without gambling on a rate increase down the line 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.

While you can lock in a low rate now, make sure you are financially prepared before you act. 

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 Friday, February 19 »

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