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Mortgage Rates by Loan Product
Mortgage Rate ReportTuesday, October 24, 2017
Mortgage rates continue to resist gravity as well as the Federal Reserve's actions and remained stable for another week. Although the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged at its September meeting, its move to start trimming its balance sheet by selling U.S. treasuries and mortgage-backed securities as well as its signaling of a rate hike before the end of the year pushed mortgage rates moderately higher across the board in mid-September. Following this initial uptick, however, mortgage rates have been relatively steady for over a month. Mortgage rate stability continued this week despite the Federal Reserve releasing the minutes from its September meeting last week that all but guaranteed an interest rate hike before the end of the year.
In its September statement, the Fed highlighted labor market strength, improving household spending and growing business investment as offsets to moderate inflation in deciding to keep the federal funds rate unchanged. Although the Fed kept the federal funds rate steady at 1.000% to 1.250%, the decision to start its previously announced balance sheet shrinking program in October moved treasury yields higher and mortgage rates followed suit, with most programs experiencing a 0.125% increase in rates.
The minutes from the September meeting, released last week, show that Fed members continue to debate the impact of low inflation on the economy as well as the projected trajectory of inflation in the future. While some Fed board members pointed to low inflation as a reason to leave rates unchanged, others focused on projected inflation growth and multiple positive economic factors to support a near term interest rate hike. The more aggressive perspective seems to have won the debate and we are poised for the Fed to raise rates in December, as many industry analysts have predicted.
Fortunately for borrowers, mortgage rates have been relatively unresponsive to the Fed's intentions and were steady for another week. The interest rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage remained unchanged at 3.750% while the interest rate for a 15 year mortgage held at 3.000%. The interest rate on a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) stayed put at 3.000%, remaining attractive to borrowers seeking shorter-term mortgage programs willing to take on the risk of an ARM. FHA mortgage rates were flat at 3.250%, matching VA mortgage rates which also remained at 3.250%, with both programs appealing to home buyers focused on low or no down payment loan options. Keeping with the broader market trend, non-owner occupied mortgage rates remained at 4.000%. Bucking the trend in a positive direction, jumbo mortgage rates dipped 0.125% to 3.750%.
Although the Fed did not change rates, its economic outlook or forecast for future rate hikes in its September meeting, its actions and signals increased market uncertainty which usually leads to higher mortgage rates. Four weeks of relatively stable mortgage rates have returned a sense of calm to the mortgage market and interest rates remain near historical lows. With the Fed meeting minutes reinforcing the expectation for a rate hike expected before year end as well as three more anticipated hikes in 2018, prospective borrowers looking to buy a home or refinance their mortgage may be able to lock in a lower interest rate by acting sooner rather than later, before mortgage rates rise again, potentially at an accelerated pace.
Because mortgage rates change daily, we continue to actively monitor the mortgage market for changes. Borrowers should check the FREEandCLEAR mortgage rate tables regularly to review customized, updated mortgage rates for lenders in their area. Our rate tables are free to use and require no personal information.
Why Select an VA Mortgage
No Down Payment.
The VA home loan program enables eligible borrowers to buy a home with no down payment which means they can get a mortgage for 100% of the property purchase price. Most mortgage programs require borrowers to make a down payment of 3% - 20%. Active and retired military personnel, including individuals in the reserves and national guard are eligible for the VA home loan program.
Low Interest Rate.
The interest rate for a VA mortgage is typically .250% - .500% lower than the current interest rate on a conventional loan or other low / no down payment mortgage programs. This is because military personnel are considered credit-worthy borrowers and because the government guarantees 25% of the loan amount, which protects the lender against default. To help pay for the guarantee, VA loan program requires borrowers to pay a one-time, up-front VA funding fee. The funding fee ranges from 1.25% - 2.15% of the loan amount depending on your down payment, type of military service and if this your first time using a VA mortgage program.
No Ongoing Mortgage Insurance.
Unlike the FHA program and most other low or no down payment mortgage programs, the VA program does not require borrowers to pay an ongoing mortgage insurance premium. Not requiring ongoing mortgage insurance reduces your total monthly housing expense and makes owning a home more affordable.
For Home Purchases and Refinancings.
Borrowers can use the VA home loan program to buy a home or to refinance their existing mortgage. The VA offers a special refinance program, also known as a VA Streamline or IRRRL Refinance, that requires less paperwork than a regular refinance, making the process more efficient for borrowers. The VA also offers the the VA Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEM) Program that enables borrowers to include up to $6,000 in energy efficiency home improvements in their VA loan amount.
Why Borrowers Compare Mortgage Rates on FREEandCLEAR
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More FREEandCLEAR Mortgage Resources
Determine what size VA mortgage you qualify for and the amount of the required up-front VA funding fee
Review our in-depth overview of of the VA home loan program including borrower qualification guidelines and loan limits
Review our detailed comparison of low and no down payment mortgage programs including key program attributes and eligibility requirements
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