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If you’re looking for mortgage rates on the web, it can be pretty confusing. I decided to take a look at a couple of the big names out there and explain what they are posting and how they get that information.

First let’s look at the types of rates you will see posted on not just the sites in this post, but on many other sites.

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Also, just a fun little fact before we start…when there is good economic news, it usually means higher mortgage rates and vice versa. So, when you see the stock market had a fantastic day, it probably means mortgage rates went higher that day.

Overnight and Weekly Averages

These are pretty self explanatory except when you are searching for rates. When you search, you see rates posted and probably assume they are the rates for that day. But usually, they are rates for the previous day or week. Which is no big deal but now you know.


Today’s mortgage rates are probably not going to be posted on a third party site even if it does say “current” or “today’s”. You have to get those from an actual lender. Which these sites and many others have. You can view rates from lenders and go directly to their websites. But remember, just because a rate is posted does not mean you will get that rate. It depends on credit score, loan amount, and equity. They have disclosures on the criteria used to advertise that rate so check it out.

Today’s Rates

Wow, I just said you couldn’t get today’s rate yet here I am. Let me clarify. These are the rates posted today on two different sites…Bankrate and HSH. These are just for your information and a way to keep abreast of what is happening in the mortgage market.

Rates for Wednesday December 11th 2013


30 yr fixed 4.42%
15 yr fixed 3.44%
5/1 ARM 3.49%

Bankrate posts two different types of rate data from two different surveys…one weekly and one daily. The rates listed above are from the Overnight Averages data which is the daily survey. Here’s what they say about this data:

“You will see daily rate averages on the site in boxes labeled “overnight averages” (these calculations are run after the close of the business day).”

“The institutions included in the “overnight averages” tables will be different from one day to the next, depending on which institutions’ rates we gather on a particular day for presentation on the site.”

You can also enter in your zip and you get rates from lenders.


30 yr fixed 4.49%
15 yr fixed 3.59%
1-yr ARM 3.07%

HSH gathers their data a little differently which is explained below. So think of it like the rates people closed their loan with instead of the rates people were advertised. And these are weekly averages.

They have rates posted called “current” but they are just the weekly averages so when you click on a type of loan, it takes you to a list of lenders who post their rates for that day and it’s geocoded so it had lender’s rates for Colorado where I live. Other websites also use this system by HSH on their sites.

“HSH Associates, Financial Publishers has conducted the same objective, editorial survey every week for 25 years in metropolitan areas nationwide. We collect up-to-date mortgage rate info from about 2,000 direct lenders across the USA.”

“Our information comes from our editorial survey; we get our information from direct interviews with lending officers. It’s street-level pricing, not what’s posted in the lobby. All information is subjected to strict quality-control procedures before it’s accepted for our databases. It’s essential for projected mortgage rate pricing.”

Good Luck and I’ll see you tomorrow!

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