Mortgage rates fluctuate based on current national and global economic data. They also differ depending on the type of loan a buyer is obtaining. Loans offered through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA loans) or through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA loans) tend to carry slightly lower rates than standard 30-year fixed loans. Adjustable rate loans and 15-year fixed rate loans have a wider range of typical rates. Their lowest rates are often lower than FHA, VA, or 30-year fixed rate loans, but rates on the higher end of the range tend to be dramatically larger than the more traditional loan rates.

At the beginning of April, weaker than desired employment data brought on some of the lowest mortgage loan rates of 2013. On April 5, typical rates had risen to 3.5% for 30 year-fixed loans, 3.25% for FHA/VA loans, 2.75-8.75% for 15-year fixed loans, and 2.625-3.25% for 5-year adjustable rate loans. By April 11, 30-year fixed loan rates had fallen to 3.43% and the lowest 15-year fixed loan rates had fallen to 2.65%.

Since then, rates have risen slightly. As of April 25, average 30-year fixed loan rates were back up to 3.57%. Still, even with the small increase, mortgage rates continue to be near the lowest they’ve been in years. Buyers who want to take advantage of these historically low rates should lock in their loans now, before rates eventually and inevitably climb higher.

Mortgage rates hit an all-time low in the fall of 2012, largely because of fears involving the global and well as the domestic economic outlook. Since then, rates have increased only moderately but consistently, even considering the decreases seen in April 2013.

The fears over the EU’s economic woes and fears regarding their possible dissolution have largely abated now, which means homebuyers shouldn’t expect to see 2012-like lows again, unless another economic event triggers rates. Small dips, like the one at the beginning of April, likely will still occur, based on national economic data. Buyers should be prepared to take advantage of these dips and to lock in their loan rates right away.