Today's Mortgage Rates
|Product (Rate Program)||Rate||APR|
If you're looking to buy a home in Massachusetts, you want to get to know the local housing markets. You also want to familiarize yourself with MA mortgage rates.
Buying a Boston condo or beachfront home in Cape Cod is expensive. For that matter, even a salt box in Pittsfield is big investment for a young couple buying a starter home. Knowing the local market can save you money. And so will getting to know Massachusetts mortgage rates.
Carefully shopping for mortgage rates can save you a lot of money, whether buying a home or refinancing. People commonly haggle over the price of a home to shave $10k-$20k or more off the purchase – and you can save similar amounts by carefully shopping for mortgage rates. A difference of a quarter percent in 30-year mortgage rates between one MA lender and another can mean a difference of $15,000 in interest payments over the life of a $300,000 home loan – and the savings are proportional to the loan amount.
So how can you find the best mortgage rates in MA? Just like shopping for the right home, you need to shop around for the right rate. And don't be fooled by outward appearances – just like new siding and a manicured lawn may hide a leaky roof and cracked foundation, what may look like a great mortgage rate at first glance may contain hidden fees and other features that make it not such a great deal.
Getting the best mortgage rates in MA
The first step in getting the best mortgage rates is understanding how mortgage rates are priced. Not everyone in Massachusetts can get the same low rate. The mortgage rate an MA lender will charge will vary from borrower to borrower depending on their credit score, down payment (or home equity if refinancing), the type of loan, length of the loan and other factors. So you want to find out what sort of mortgage rates MA lenders will offer you personally.
Advertised mortgage rates can be misleading. For one thing, Massachusetts mortgage lenders and those elsewhere typically list their best mortgage rates, the ones available to customers with the highest credit scores and who can make substantial down payments.
Unusually low advertised mortgage rates may also be packaged with hidden fees that make them less of a bargain than they appear. Advertised mortgage rates often include discount points, which are a way of buying a lower rate, typically lowering the rate by an eighth to a quarter of a percent for every point you purchase. So a low mortgage rate with two or three discount points may be more costly overall than a higher rate with no points or just one.
A good way to compare advertised rates is to look at the APR (annual percentage rate) instead of the mortgage rate itself. The APR is a way of expressing the total cost of the loan, rate and fees, as a single interest rate representing the annual cost of the loan. It's not 100 percent accurate, particularly if you sell the home or refinance in a few years, but it does provide a simple and fairly reliable way of making a comparison.
Getting prequalified for a mortgage
When shopping for the best mortgage rates in Massachusetts though, remember that you want to find out what lenders will charge you personally. So you need to get personalized quotes from several to see what they'll charge someone with your credit score and borrower profile.
This is called getting prequalified. You provide your credit score and some information about the loan you're seeking, including how much you want to borrow and the amount of your down payment/home equity, and they provide you with a rate quote based on your information and today's mortgage rates.
There's no commitment and it shouldn't cost you anything to get personalized mortgage rates. You should try to get quotes from at least three mortgage lenders who can make loans in Massachusetts and preferably more. You can do this by calling the lenders directly or you can seek multiple quotes at once by using a rate quote form such as the one at the top of this page.
Current mortgage rates: Nailing them down
When seeking rate quotes, you want to get them all on the same day. Current MA mortgage rates can change daily, sometimes even several times a day. If you request quotes from lenders on different days, you may not get an accurate comparison of what they'll actually charge you.
Since current mortgage rates can change quite a bit from week to week, lenders allow you to lock in today's rate when you apply for a mortgage. That means that whatever today's mortgage rates are for Massachusetts borrowers when you apply for the loan, you'll still be able to get that rate when the loan finally closes four to six weeks later, even if rates have risen during that time.
What if rates go down after you lock? Many MA lenders will give you a one-time option to re-lock if current mortgage rates fall by a certain amount after locking your rate, often a quarter of a percent, which offers you some additional protection.
What loans give you the best mortgage rates in MA?
Mortgage rates are structured differently for various types of loans. For borrowers with good credit, a conventional mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will often have the best combination of a low mortgage rate and fees. But borrowers with weaker credit may find these loans more expensive, as their rates increase for lower credit scores.
FHA loans in MA are often a good choice for borrowers with lower credit scores, as their rates aren't as credit-dependant as conventional loans are. FHA loan requirements also allow down payments as low as 3.5 percent, even for Massachusetts borrowers with scores in the low 600s, which make them an attractive option for first-time homebuyers or borrowers who've had some financial challenges.
Short-term mortgages give you the lowest rates of all. For example, 15-year mortgage rates commonly run a half to a full percentage point lower than a comparable rate on an MA 30-year fixed rate loan. This makes them a popular option for refinancing, when someone has had a mortgage for a number of years and is looking to shorten the remaining term.
Another option for borrowers seeking the lowest mortgage rate they can get is an adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM. These loans start out as a fixed rate for a certain length of time, often 5-7 years, and then the rate readjusts to reflect current market conditions. This means the initial rate can be lower than on a fixed-rate loan. ARMs can be a good choice for Massachusetts borrowers who plan to sell or move in a few years, so they don't need the long-term rate predictability of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.