Iowa (Rate Wire) -- The benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate in IA has moved down since the beginning of the year. In our first reading for the year on Jan. 7 the rates averaged 4.8%; this week the average stands at 4.16%, a drop of 64 basis points. The state average is lower than the national average of 4.23%, which is 7 basis points higher than in IA. If you are looking for the best rate in the area, then you might want to look into credit unions, where the average rate is 14 basis points lower than the average bank. Since our last report, rates have decreased 12 basis points. The shorter term 15-year fixed mortgage in IA rates have dropped from 4.22% to 3.4%, a drop of 82 basis points.

The key adjustable rate mortgage, the

5-year ARM in Iowa

, has decreased since the beginning of the year from 3.8% on Jan. 7 to the current week's average of 3.33%, a drop of 47 basis points. Since our last report, rates have increased 2 basis points. Since the beginning of the year, mortgage rates have been very volatile with the 30-year rate fluctuating between 5.12% and 4.04%.

If you would like to lower your rate further:

Paying points can lower your monthly mortgage payment by having you prepay some of the interest on your mortgage. Paying a point at closing will reduce your rate by 30 basis points on average. The average 30-year fixed rate

mortgage rate

with one point is 4.50%. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage if you pay two points is 4.37%.

Other Housing Related Loans:

The average rate for home improvement loans across the state is 8.86%. Be sure to shop around for the best rate as loan rates vary greatly across the state from a low of 5.63% to a high of 10.99%. There are a lot of variables to consider when looking into home equity loans and lines of credit. The bank will look at the amount of equity that the prospective borrower has in his or her home as well as the total amount of the loan or line being considered. When looking into lines of credit, also referred to as a HELOC, we refer to the lowest tier of loan (less than $25,000) with a loan amount of up to 80% of the value of the home. The current average rate for a

HELOC in Iowa

is 5.30% ranging from 3.25% to 7.00%. When looking into home equity loans, we are using the lowest tier of loan (less than $25,000) with a loan amount of up to 80% of the value of the home over a five-year term (120 months). The average

home equity loan rate in Iowa

is currently 6.86% ranging from a low of 3.99% to a high of 10.89%.

All rate information has been provided by RateWatch, a leading provider of timely, accurate deposit, loan, and fee data for the financial industry for more than 20 years.