Today's Mortgage Rates
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Georgia is known for great peaches, golf and music, and it's a great place to live as well. Finding the best Georgian mortgage rates is a key part of buying and financing a home in the Peach State, but it can be a challenge for many. Learning a few basic rules and understanding some of the major types of Georgia home loans can make it a lot easier. For example:
- Current mortgage rates in Ga. are listed at the top of this page. But those are averages - the rate you pay may vary depending on your credit score, down payment, fees paid and lender.
- Mortgage rates change daily, sometimes several times a day. Today's Ga. mortgage rates may be better or worse than the rate you can get next week, next month or even tomorrow.
- Don't focus on just the mortgage rate when shopping for Georgia home loans. A low rate with high fees, particularly if it includes discount points, can cost you more over the long run than a higher rate with lower fees. The APR is often a better guide to the overall cost of a loan.
- Find the loan that's right for you. A conventional mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac may be a good choice for borrowers with good credit, while those with lower credit scores may get a better deal with Ga. FHA loans.
- Paying down your mortgage allows you to build equity. Therefore, it's important to know how your prospective mortgage options will amortize over time – that is, how quickly they will pay down your loan balance.
Georgia mortgage rates
Shopping for a mortgage isn't like shopping for other consumer products, where everyone pays the same price for the same item from the same vendor. You go to a certain grocery store and everyone pays $1.99 for a gallon of milk, while other stores may charge more or less. But all customers at the same store pay the same price.
Mortgages aren't like that. The rate you pay depends in large part on your profile as a customer – your credit score, the size of your down payment and how much debt you're taking on, among others.
Georgia mortgage rates also vary depending on the type of loan you're getting, and some types of loans will be a better fit for certain customers than others. For example, FHA lenders in Georgia often offer better rates to borrowers with less-than-perfect credit than they can get on a conventional mortgage. Home equity and HELOC rates in Ga. are higher than rates on home purchase loans. Shorter loans have lower rates –15-year mortgage rates are lower than 30-year mortgage rates. And so forth.
As mentioned above, simply shopping for the lowest Georgia mortgage rates can be misleading. That's because the way lenders structure their loans, the lowest rate may not be the best deal. A loan with a low rate that charges high fees may be more costly than one with a somewhat higher rate but lower fees.
That's particularly true if a quoted rate includes one or more discount points, which are a way of buying a lower rate by paying an additional fee up front. Used wisely, discount points can save you money, particularly if you stay in the home a long time. But they can also be used by lenders to create an artificially low rate that isn't as attractive as it may seem.
On fixed-rate loans, a better guide is the APR, or annual percentage rate. This figure is a way of expressing the total cost of a loan, both the mortgage rate and fees, in terms of a percentage rate – the lower the APR, the lower the overall cost of the loan. But it's less useful on adjustable-rate loans because the rate can vary over time.
Ga. FHA loans
FHA loans are a popular option for first-time homebuyers and anyone with limited finances or weaker credit. Ga. FHA loan requirements allow down payments of as little as 3.5 percent and generally offer better mortgage interest rates to borrowers with credit scores in the 600s and lower than they can get on conventional mortgages.
FHA lenders in Georgia will generally approve mortgages for borrowers with credit scores as low as 620 and some will go considerably lower than that. However, the down payment requirement increases to a minimum of 10 percent for credit scores below 580.
Ga. FHA loans include requirements for mortgage insurance premiums that can make them more costly compared to conventional loans for borrowers with good credit. But for borrowers with weaker credit, the extra cost is often less than what they save from the lower mortgage interest rates available to them.
Georgia Home Equity Loans
Borrowers seeking home equity loans in Georgia have two main options: a regular home equity loan or a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. In both cases, the loan is secured by the home equity in your property, which allows you to get lower interests rate than you can get on unsecured loans.
With regular home equity loans, Georgia borrowers receive a single lump sum of cash that they then repay on a predetermined schedule, usually at a fixed mortgage rate. With A HELOC, on the other hand, they get a line of credit they can borrow against as needed, in whatever amounts they wish, up to the maximum on the credit line.
Georgia HELOCs are set up as adjustable-rate loans during the period you can borrow against the line of credit, called the draw, and are usually interest-only loans during this time as well. That means you don't have to begin repaying the loan principle until after the draw period is ended, usually 5-10 years. However, repaying principle during this time will free up more of your credit line again, making HELOCs a useful cash-flow management tool, as well as reducing your interest charges. HELOC rates in Georgia often can be converted to fixed-rates once the draw ends and you enter the repayment phase.
Refinance rates in Georgia
There is little difference between refinance rates and Georgia mortgage rates for regular home loans used for a purchase. Both are primary loans secured by the value of a home to finance the purchase of that home. With a refinance, you're just replacing your old home loan with a new one, because it offers you better terms.
The main difference between a purchase and a refinance mortgage is that your home equity plays the same role in a refinance that your down payment did in a home purchase. But because borrowers who refinance have usually accumulated a fair amount of home equity, they can often get a better rate refinancing than someone making a purchase can get with a relatively smaller down payment.
An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) has a low initial rate that remains in place for a specified time period. After that time, a variable rate takes effect. The variable rate is adjusted at regular intervals, according to the movements of an index such as the 12-month moving Treasury average. The variable nature of the ARM makes it somewhat riskier than a fixed-rate mortgage (FRM). Many borrowers refinance out of the ARM once they can afford a more conventional FRM.
Locating qualified brokers is as easy as browsing through our Georgia broker directory. Before you reach for the phone, however, make sure you're prepared to explain your needs. Here are some tips:
- Have a good grasp on how much loan you can afford. Try testing out different mortgage loans and rates with one of our mortgage calculators.
- Think about how long you intend to own the home; this could determine whether an ARM or fixed-rate mortgage is more suitable.
- Get familiar with how different loan types compare in terms of rates. For example, mortgages with shorter pay-off schedules have lower rates than mortgages with longer pay-off schedules, and refinances have lower rates than second mortgages.
Finally, make it a point to shop around with several lenders. The downside is that you'll have to fill out a few loan applications; however, you'll benefit from having options to compare.