See below to compare mortgage refinance rates available as of December 1, 2023. Refinance mortgage rates are subject to market conditions and can change at any time without notice. We recommend submitting an application and rate lock as soon as possible.
NOTE: The current refinance rates display below and may take a few seconds to load.
Another option: You may also want to consider a no payment home equity “loan”, which enables you to borrow against your home equity with no monthly payments and no interest charges even if your credit isn’t perfect.
Table of Contents
What is a Mortgage Refinance?
A mortgage refinance is a mortgage transaction in which you replace your existing mortgage with a new mortgage that has more favorable loan terms.
For example, homeowners commonly refinance mortgages to get lower interest rates and reduce monthly payments. Homeowners also refinance to “cash out” equity to consolidate debt, make large purchases, or do home improvements.
There are two main types of refinance transactions: rate/term and cash out. What mortgage refinance rates are available depends on the type of transaction you’re doing. We’ll cover more details about how both types of transactions work.
A rate/term refinance involves replacing your existing mortgage with a new mortgage without cashing out equity. The idea is to simply refinance your mortgage for better loan terms, including a lower interest rate, shorter loan term, or to remove mortgage insurance.
There are a few different types of rate/term refinances available.
A conventional rate/term refinance is also commonly called a “limited cash out” refinance. This type of mortgage transaction involves replacing your existing mortgage with a new conventional (non government backed) mortgage to get better loan terms.
Most conventional loans these days are underwritten to Fannie Mae lending guidelines. Fannie Mae limits the cash back at closing for a rate/term refinance to $2,000 or 2% of the loan amount, whichever is less, after paying off existing mortgages, closing costs, prepaid escrows, and property taxes.
Other requirements apply to limited cash out transactions. If you like, you can read about them here.
If you have an FHA mortgage, you may be able to “streamline” it for a lower interest rate and payment.
FHA Streamlines are generally easy to qualify for. Lenders don’t care about your credit score (and may not even bother to run a credit report), and you typically don’t need income documentation or an appraisal.
However, FHA streamlines can sometimes be difficult to get because FHA strictly limits the loan amount. It’s not always possible to roll closing costs and escrow deposits into the new loan amount because of the FHA restrictions. It’s common for homeowners to have to come up with at least some cash at closing to help set up the escrow account on their new loan and/or cover some or all of the closing costs.
If you’re a military veteran and you already have a VA mortgage, you can potentially “streamline” your VA mortgage for a lower interest rate.
VA Streamlines are super easy to qualify for. Lenders typically don’t need a credit report, any kind of income documentation, or an appraisal. You can streamline your VA loan by simply signing some standard disclosures and then waiting for the lender to process your application. It’s as easy as it gets when it comes to refinances!
VA streamline mortgage refinance rates are also some of the lowest available.
VA streamlines are subject to strict closing cost limitations, so they’re often a great deal from that standpoint as well.
If you receive VA disability income, you may also be exempt from the VA funding fee. If you’re not exempt, the VA funding fee is just 0.5% of the loan amount, which is significantly cheaper than what you paid when you got your current VA mortgage.
A cash-out refinance involves borrowing more than your existing mortgage balance and receiving the difference in cash. You can use the proceeds for whatever you like, including debt consolidation, home improvements, paying medical bills, or making a large purchase.
You don’t need to have an existing mortgage to do a cash-out “refinance”. The process and qualifications are largely the same even if your home is free and clear.
Most lenders will lend up to 80% of your home’s value on a cash-out refinance. If you’re a veteran, you can often borrow up to 90% or 100% of your home’s value with a VA-backed cash out mortgage.
There are two main advantages to a cash-out refinance:
- Interest rates. Cash out refinance mortgage rates are typically lower than cash out refinance alternatives such as HELOCs and home equity loans. The interest may also be tax-deductible.
- Long loan terms. You can stretch the loan term to 30 years to keep your payments as low as possible.
There are a few disadvantages of a cash-out refinance:
- Closing costs. Cash-out refinances are considered riskier by lenders, so the rates and closing costs are usually higher than non cash-out home loans. It’s normal to pay a slightly higher rate and a point or two with your closing costs.
- Minimum loan amounts. The minimum loan amount is usually in the $50,000 to $75,000 range. If don’t need to borrow this much, you may want to consider a HELOC, home equity loan, or personal loan.
- You will need to refinance any existing mortgages. This may not make sense if you have a low rate on your current mortgage.
- More stringent credit requirements. Cash out refinances are considered riskier for lenders, so the credit requirements tend to be more stringent than rate/term refinances.
A cash out refinance can be a great way to get your hands on a large amount of cash. However, because they’re riskier for lenders than rate/term refinances, you can expect refinance rates and closing costs to be higher than rate/term home refinance rates.
How to Get the Best Refinance Rates
Unless you’re doing a VA or FHA streamline, you can expect refinance mortgage rates to be heavily based on credit scores. If you want the lowest refinance rates, you need to have good credit.
Debt-to-income ratio sometimes matters as well, but credit scores are usually the most important qualifying factor.
Credit scores range from a low of 350 to a high of 850. According to Credit.com, the average credit score in the United States was 711 in 2021. There are five main factors that influence your credit scores:
- Payment history: 35%. It’s very important for your credit scores that you make your payments on time.
- Credit utilization: 30%. If you have high utilization (i.e., you’re “maxed out”) on credit cards, expect your scores to suffer even if you make your payments on time. Keep your utilization below 30% of the credit limit.
- Credit age: 15%. Length of credit history is important. Avoid closing old accounts unless absolutely necessary.
- Credit mix: 10%. Lenders like to see a mix of different types of credit accounts, such as revolving (credit card) accounts and installment loans like mortgages, car loans, etc.
- New credit: 10%. Be careful when applying for new credit cards or loans. Too many new accounts can damage your scores.
How Can I Improve My Credit Scores?
As we’ve covered, refinance rates depend heavily on credit scores. It’s important to have high credit scores if you want to qualify for the best mortgage refinance rates.
The best way to improve your credit scores is to make your payments on time. As we’ve covered, payment history is the single largest component of the credit score calculation.
It’s also important to avoid overutilizing your revolving credit. High utilization can damage your credit scores even if you make your payments on time. Keep your credit card balances below 30% of the credit limit at all times.
Length of credit history also contributes to good credit scores, but it’s a smaller component of the credit score calculation. If want to close some accounts, we recommend closing your newer accounts first.
Be careful not to open too many new accounts at one time. If you’re shopping aggressively for new loans, it may hurt your credit scores.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are refinance rates higher than mortgage rates to purchase a home?
Not always. If you’re refinancing for cash out, then you can expect to pay a higher interest than if you weren’t taking out cash. Purchase mortgage interest rates and so-called rate/term (non cash-out) refinance rates tend to be fairly comparable.
Is it worth it to refinance for a 1% interest rate change?
To answer this question, you need to also consider the closing costs for the refinance. If you’re getting a 1% interest rate reduction for minimal closing costs, then yes, it could be worth it. If you’re paying a small fortune in closing costs to get a 1% rate reduction, it may not make sense. We recommend running the figures through a refinance calculator to make sure you’re recouping your costs in a reasonable timeframe.
Is it a good time to refinance your home right now?
The answer to that question depends on the terms of your current loan and what you’re trying to accomplish with the new loan. It doesn’t cost anything to check out current home refinance rates (which you can find on this page) to see what’s available.