Today's Mortgage Rates
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The California housing market is unique in many ways, particularly in regard to its size and steep home prices, which are the highest by far of the lower 48 states. But California mortgage rates are pretty much in line with what you'll find in other parts of the country. That's true for California refinance rates, home purchase loans, HELOCs or other types of home loans.
The mortgage rate you'll pay on a California home loan will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of loan you get, the size of your down payment (or amount of home equity) and often – but not always – your credit score (See the section on California FHA loans, below).
Current mortgage rates can vary from day to day. To see what today's rates are, you can check a table like the one above. For a more accurate figure tailored to your personal situation, you can use the form at the top of the page to request personalized California mortgages rates quotes from up to three lenders tailored to your situation – be it a home purchase, refinance or home equity loan.
Jumbo loan limits - California
About half of all homes sold in California are pricey enough to require some type of jumbo loan, which is a mortgage that exceeds the lending limits allowed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which in most of the country is $453,100 for a single-family home. In high-value areas like San Francisco and Los Angeles, the limit can run as high as $679,650 (2018 figures). Anything above that is considered a jumbo loan; those falling between the two are often called conforming jumbos.
Jumbo loan rates in California and elsewhere historically have run about a half to a full percentage point higher than comparable conforming rates, though the gap has narrowed in recent years. These days, a jumbo loan may run only an eighth to a quarter of a percent higher than regular California mortgage rates. Conforming jumbos are treated the same as regular conforming loans.
FHA loans in California
With relaxed credit requirements and down payments as low as 3.5 percent, FHA loans are popular starter loans for first-time homebuyers everywhere.
While their standard limit of $294,515 for a single family is relatively low for the California market, the limit goes as high as $679,650 in high-value counties, the same as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Another attractive feature of FHA loans for California first-time homebuyers is that FHA mortgage rates are not tied to credit scores, at least for borrowers with a score of 580 or above (which covers most people who can qualify). So if your credit is in the so-so range, a FHA loan may be more affordable than a conventional Fannie/Freddie mortgage.
California refinance rates, like those elsewhere, are pretty much identical to home purchase rates for a borrower with the same financial and credit profile. The only difference is your home equity takes the place of a down payment.
Even so, homeowners who refinance can often qualify for better rates than their counterparts making a home purchase, because they've had several years to build equity and improve their credit by making regular mortgage payments, qualifying them for lower refinance rates in California and elsewhere.
Home equity loans and HELOCs
Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) are often called second mortgages, because they are home loans that are secondary to your primary mortgage, the one you used to buy your home.
Because they are secondary loans, California HELOC rates and home equity rates tend to run somewhat higher than home purchase or refinance rates. However, because they're secured by the equity in your home, they tend to be lower than rates on credit cards and other types of consumer borrowing.
HELOCs and home equity loans can also provide a bit more financial flexibility. HELOCs, which allow you to borrow money as needed, are usually set up as interest-only loans during their initial phase, called the draw period, allowing you to borrow and repay money when you wish, rather than repaying the loan on a fixed schedule.
To get started on finding the best California mortgage rates, refinance rates or home equity/HELOC rates, just use the rate quote form at the top of this page to get personalized rate quotes from up to three lenders.
Mortgage rates for California cities