How low have mortgage rates gone?

Red percent sign on the background of houses . The concept of price changes on the real estate market .
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Mortgage rates dipped on Tuesday to an average 2.94% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, and that ties an all-time low reached in mid-June, says Mortgage News Daily.

For rates these days, it's "all about the coronavirus," says Matthew Graham, chief operating officer of MND.

"If it looks like the economy can slowly lurch back to business, rates will feel pressure to move higher," he writes. "If it looks like coronavirus retains the upper hand, rates could continue inching toward more all-time lows."

Today's dirt-cheap mortgage rates have helped light a fire under the housing market. Pending home sales — that is, the number of houses under contract — shot up by a record 44.3% from April to May, following two months of declines related to the pandemic.

"This has been a spectacular recovery for contract signings, and goes to show the resiliency of American consumers and their evergreen desire for homeownership," says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

"This bounce back also speaks to how the housing sector could lead the way for a broader economic recovery," Yun adds.

Fed chief Powell welcomes the signs of recovery, but he says the economy is still fragile.

"We have entered an important new phase and have done so sooner than expected," he told lawmakers in remarks prepared for hearings Monday and Tuesday. "While this bounce back in economic activity is welcome, it also presents new challenges — notably, the need to keep the virus in check."

Use the mortgage calculator below to see the low monthly payment that's possible with one of today's low mortgage rates:

Can you get a mortgage rate under 3%?

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Worrisome news about the coronavirus is keeping investors anxious and is contributing to the latest declines in interest rates. The government's top infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned Congress on Tuesday that new cases of the virus could hit a stunning 100,000 per day.

Mortgage rates tend to follow the interest, on yields, on Treasury bonds. The yields have been sinking as money has flowed out of stocks and into bonds as a safer investment amid all of the uncertainty over the COVID-19 outbreak.

So that's how mortgage rates have fallen back to record territory in the Mortgage News Daily survey. But lenders aren't uniformly offering super-low rates, Graham warns.

"Different borrowers will see different pricing," he says. "This sort of goes without saying, but it's much more pronounced than it has been before coronavirus."

The rate you get depends on your own circumstances, like your credit score. Plus, rates can vary widely between lenders, by up to 1 percentage point or more, a recent LendingTree study found. In other words, one lender might offer you a 30-year loan at 2.95%, another might offer you a similar mortgage at a much stiffer 4%.

To find the lowest rate available to you, you have to shop around. Gather rate offers from several lenders and compare them side by side to find the best deal.

Don't forget to use the same approach when you buy or renew your homeowners insurance. You can easily go online and get a bunch of home insurance quotes to compare rates — and find your perfect policy.

Check out today's best mortgage rates where you are:

About the Author

Doug Whiteman

Doug Whiteman

Editor-in-Chief

Doug Whiteman is the editor-in-chief of MoneyWise. He has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and CNBC.com and has been interviewed on Fox Business, CBS Radio and the syndicated TV show "First Business."

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