While users of VA-backed loans generally receive lower interest rates than their conventional counterparts, that doesn’t make veteran home-buyers immune from recent rate hikes.

Mortgage rates are the highest they’ve been since 2014, per multiple media reports, and while VA loan rates remain the lowest of the loan types, they’re also on the rise. VA-backed 30-year notes that closed in March averaged a 4.5 percent rate, according to a recent Ellie Mae report ― up half a percentage point in six months.

Anyone who’s been in the market for a loan knows that most lenders aren’t shy about advertising their wares. But promises online or in leaflets don’t often translate to real-world pricing, and every borrower will see fluctuations based on everything from loan amounts to credit scores to regional market trends.

Fortunately for borrowers, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau offers an online tool that lets users compare rates while accounting for several factors:

  • State where the property is located.
  • Type of loan (VA, conventional or Federal Housing Administration) and type of rate (fixed or adjustable).
  • Length of loan (15 or 30 years)
  • Credit score.
  • Home price and down payment.

The tool isn’t perfect: It’s still in beta status, meaning it’s not fully finished, and it doesn’t account for differences within states ― an Army family at Fort Drum may have a different experience than a veteran in Brooklyn, for instance.

Still, it will provide users a more individualized rate than the national average. If your lender is well below that figure, or below the lowest rate provided on CFPB’s lender chart, proceed with caution.

Need more on mortgages? Visit our VA Loan Center.

Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.

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