Mortgage and Refinance Rates in California

Use our comparison table to compare refinance and mortgage rates in California

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Today's Rates In California


The state of California is the most populous in the United States. It houses three of the largest cities in the country and is packed with different attractions that pull people in. The scenic mountains, beach fronts, and vast employment opportunities entice both young and old to seek to be homeowners in the Golden State.

The housing market in California is quite large and presents some of the most expensive mortgage rates in the country. However, it is hardly any different from what is available in other parts of the country. Yet, the increasing demand for houses in the state means that the rates here will most likely continue to rise.

Despite this, different kinds of payment structures exist to help potential owners get reasonable mortgage rates. This is influenced by various factors which we will discuss here. Some of these payment structures or loan types are Jumbo loans, FHA loans, Home Equity Loans, and HELOCs, and so on.

Factors Influencing Mortgage Rates in California

Mortgage rates in California are influenced by many factors. As someone who plans to buy a home in the state, you would find it helpful to know how all these work to affect you. Some of these factors are:

  1. Size of Down Payment: Depending on the type of loan you get, making a big down payment means that you’ll get a lower mortgage rate most times.
  2. Type of Property: The interest rate on single-family dwellings are usually lower than properties such as condos and multi-unit dwellings.
  3. Amount and Type of Loan: Small loans typically have high rates. Also depending on the type of loan you get, rates can vary. For instance, Fannie/Freddie rates are higher than FHA rates.
  4. Credit Scores: Your credit score may not always affect your home loan rates in California but it does have its place. A minimum mid score of 620 is usually required by lenders. Hence, the higher your score, the better the rates you get.

The current California mortgage rates are constantly changing. To find out what the rates are today, you can check the stats provided here. If you would like to see more accurate rates for you, there is a form at the top of this page which you can fill.

When you submit it, you’ll be provided with mortgage rate quotes from up to three lenders that fit your situation as precisely as possible. Whether your mortgage goal is a home purchase, home equity loan, or refinance, you’ll find stats to help you make a decision.

Types of Mortgage Loans

One way to get the best interest rates possible as a potential homeowner is to choose the right mortgage plan. It should fit your needs perfectly and be comfortable enough for you to live with.

The common mortgage options available to California residents are:

  1. Fixed-rate mortgages
  2. Government-insured mortgages
  3. Jumbo mortgages

Fixed-Rate Mortgages

Fixed-Rate Mortgages (FRM) are one of the most popular kinds of mortgage loans in California and most of the United States. Here, you have a monthly principal and interest that remains the same throughout the life of the loan. This means that you primarily make the same mortgage payment monthly. However, taxes and insurance will change over time.

In California, FRMs come as 30-year loans or 15-year loans. 30-year loans are the most common, though they require more interest. 15-year loans come with their benefits as well. For instance, because the life of the loan is shorter, it comes with less interest rates, helping you save money every month. As expected, the monthly mortgage payment is significantly higher than 30-year FRMs, but you can get it over with in less time and with less interest rates.

Government-Insured Mortgages

The United States Government has set up structures and agencies that help citizens become homeowners, even though they do not lend mortgages themselves. The government agencies that facilitate mortgages for homeowners across the country are:

  • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Federal Housing Administration (FHA Loans)

FHA loans are the most common mortgage loans, especially for first-time homebuyers in California. It is good news for buyers who don’t have a large down payment secured with the 3.5% down payment offered by the program.

The credit requirements are also very relaxed, seeing as they are not exactly tied to credit scores. With a minimum FICO score of 580, you can get the maximum 96.5% financing provided by the FHA. Even with a score of 500, you can qualify, as long as you put nothing less than 10% down

Their standard limit is $294,515 for a single family, an amount that is considered low in the California housing market. Yet, they have a high $679,650 limit in some other counties. Hence, your FHA loan may be the same as, or even more affordable than, a Fannie/Freddie mortgage.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Loans)

Moderate to low-income earners can buy homes with USDA loans. Eligibility for this loan is mostly a factor of the borrower’s income. A down payment is not required of borrowers and there is no specified credit score, however, the borrower’s credit history is assessed. Details such as utility payments and rent payment history are checked. The reason for this is to see if the borrower can pay the loan back.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA loans)

Active duty members and veterans of the US military can have their mortgage needs catered for with VA loans. A VA loan has a zero down payment option and provides low-interest mortgages to these military personnel. No mortgage insurance is required but a funding fee is charged as a percentage of the loan to even out the cost of the program to taxpayers.

Jumbo Mortgages

Like we already said, the prices of houses in California are high, especially compared with other states in the country. Thus, people who would like to buy homes in the area require a bigger loan that exceeds Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lending limits.

In other parts of the country, this limit is $548,250 for a single-family home in 2021. Areas in California like San Francisco and Los Angeles had this value at $679,650 back in 2018. This is why many California homeowners go for Jumbo loans.

Jumbo loans have non-conforming loan limits that let you borrow up to $3,000,000. As expected, the requirements are just as high, with a 10-20% down payment, FICO score of 700 or more, and a debt-to-income ratio of at most, 45%

Refinance rates in California change just as frequently as house purchase rates do. Most homeowners consider refinancing once interest rates drop, but every mortgaging expert knows better than to recommend it based on that alone. Some factors that you have to consider are:

  • Your home equity
  • Your loan program or mortgage type
  • Your current credit score
  • Lender’s fees

With a lower credit score and well-built home equity, you can qualify for lower refinance rates in California. When you understand how the mortgage rates and other trends can affect your refinancing at a certain point in time, you can make better decisions.

You can also utilize our mortgage calculator to see which mortgage refinance or house purchase payment system is most comfortable for you.

Home Equity Loans and HELOCs in California

The rates of Home Equity Loans and Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) in California are usually higher than general home purchase or refinance rates. However, they can help you achieve more financial flexibility.

This is possible because you can use your home equity to sort other financial needs that you may have. For instance, you can convert any current debt you have into a constant monthly loan payment. This is called debt consolidation and the payment involved comes at a lower interest rate. Other expenses such as medical bills, college tuition, and home renovations can be covered too.

To find the best Home Equity and HELOC rates in California for you, you can enter your details in the rate quote form on this page and see rates from up to three lenders.

Mortgage rates for California cities

See: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco.