Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates edged lower yesterday. Phew! That was the first fall in 10 calendar days and felt overdue. Today’s rates may feel high. But that’s only in comparison with parts of 2020 and 2021. Go back any further and they’re still extraordinarily low.
And there may be more good news this morning. Because mortgage rates today look likely to hold steady or inch lower.Find and lock a low rate (Oct 14th, 2021)
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed||3.241%||3.257%||-0.04%|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||2.531%||2.558%||-0.06%|
|Conventional 20 year fixed||2.991%||3.027%||-0.05%|
|Conventional 10 year fixed||2.439%||2.499%||-0.08%|
|30 year fixed FHA||3.191%||3.953%||-0.04%|
|15 year fixed FHA||2.554%||3.198%||-0.01%|
|5/1 ARM FHA||2.526%||3.128%||+0.02%|
|30 year fixed VA||3.008%||3.2%||-0.09%|
|15 year fixed VA||2.732%||3.082%||-0.03%|
|5/1 ARM VA||2.553%||2.352%||+0.02%|
|Rates are provided by our partner network, and may not reflect the market. Your rate might be different. Click here for a personalized rate quote. See our rate assumptions here.|
COVID-19 mortgage updates: Mortgage lenders are changing rates and rules due to COVID-19. To see the latest on how coronavirus could impact your home loan, click here.
Should you lock a mortgage rate today?
Nothing’s arisen that’s shifted my view of where mortgage rates are heading. And, until something does, I’m fairly confident that they’ll carry on higher.
But every upward trend is punctuated with occasional falls. So don’t be surprised when those occur, including yesterday and perhaps today.
Meanwhile, my personal rate lock recommendations remain:
- LOCK if closing in 7 days
- LOCK if closing in 15 days
- LOCK if closing in 30 days
- LOCK if closing in 45 days
- LOCK if closing in 60 days
However, I don’t claim perfect foresight. And your personal analysis could turn out to be as good as mine — or better. So you might choose to be guided by your instincts and your personal tolerance for risk.
Market data affecting today’s mortgage rates
Here’s a snapshot of the state of play this morning at about 9:50 a.m. (ET). The data, compared with roughly the same time yesterday, were:
- The yield on 10-year Treasury notes inched down to 1.54% from 1.55%. (Good for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
- Major stock indexes were higher soon after opening. (Bad for mortgage rates.) When investors are buying shares they’re often selling bonds, which pushes prices of those down and increases yields and mortgage rates. The opposite may happen when indexes are lower
- Oil prices increased to $80.81 from $79.87 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.
- Gold prices rose to $1,797 from $1,781 an ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) In general, it is better for rates when gold rises, and worse when gold falls. Gold tends to rise when investors worry about the economy. And worried investors tend to push rates lower
- CNN Business Fear & Greed index — climbed to 37 from 33 out of 100. (Bad for mortgage rates.) “Greedy” investors push bond prices down (and interest rates up) as they leave the bond market and move into stocks, while “fearful” investors do the opposite. So lower readings are better than higher ones
*A change of less than $20 on gold prices or 40 cents on oil ones is a fraction of 1%. So we only count meaningful differences as good or bad for mortgage rates.
Caveats about markets and rates
Before the pandemic and the Federal Reserve’s interventions in the mortgage market, you could look at the above figures and make a pretty good guess about what would happen to mortgage rates that day. But that’s no longer the case. We still make daily calls. And are usually right. But our record for accuracy won’t achieve its former high levels until things settle down.
So use markets only as a rough guide. Because they have to be exceptionally strong or weak to rely on them. But, with that caveat, mortgage rates today look likely to remain unchanged or inch lower. But be aware that “intraday swings” (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.
Important notes on today’s mortgage rates
Here are some things you need to know:
- Typically, mortgage rates go up when the economy’s doing well and down when it’s in trouble. But there are exceptions. Read ‘How mortgage rates are determined and why you should care
- Only “top-tier” borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you’ll see advertised
- Lenders vary. Yours may or may not follow the crowd when it comes to daily rate movements — though they all usually follow the wider trend over time
- When daily rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
- Refinance rates are typically close to those for purchases. And a recent regulatory change has narrowed a gap that previously existed
So there’s a lot going on here. And nobody can claim to know with certainty what’s going to happen to mortgage rates in coming hours, days, weeks or months.
Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?
Today and soon
The monetary policy body of the Federal Reserve is called the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). And yesterday saw publication of the minutes of its last meeting.
Investors always study such minutes closely. But yesterday’s were especially important. Because they revealed the likely timetable for the winding down (“tapering”) of the Fed’s asset purchase programs, which were an emergency response to the pandemic.
And one of those programs has been keeping mortgage rates artificially low for the last 18 months. Clearly, there’s a strong chance that those rates will head yet higher once the Fed begins to withdraw its support.
Those minutes have mostly confirmed what we already knew, with just a few extra details. And a November start for tapering seems to have switched from being likely to highly likely, though a December one remains possible.
It’s probable that an announcement will be made on Nov. 3, immediately after the next FOMC meeting. Tapering itself would then begin in mid-November. And the faucet will be turned off completely by mid-2022, according to current plans.
Meanwhile, other forces are also acting to push mortgage rates higher. And those include persistently high inflation (as shown in yesterday and today’s relevant economic reports) and more than a month of falling numbers for new COVID-19 cases in the US.
Of course, some new force could emerge at any moment that drags mortgage rates lower. But that would have to be economically catastrophic. And none of us wants that.
For more details about the Fed’s plans and other influences on mortgage rates, read last Saturday’s weekend edition of these daily reports.
Recently — Updated today
Over much of 2020, the overall trend for mortgage rates was clearly downward. And a new, weekly all-time low was set on 16 occasions last year, according to Freddie Mac.
The most recent weekly record low occurred on Jan. 7, when it stood at 2.65% for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. But then the trend reversed and rates rose moderately.
However, from April, those rises were mostly replaced by falls, though typically small ones. More recently, we had a couple of months when those rates barely moved. But, unfortunately, since early September we’ve been seeing rises.
Freddie’s Oct. 14 report puts that weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 3.05% (with 0.7 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 2.99%.
Expert mortgage rate forecasts
Looking further ahead, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) each has a team of economists dedicated to monitoring and forecasting what will happen to the economy, the housing sector and mortgage rates.
And here are their current rate forecasts for the remaining quarters of 2021 (Q3/21 and Q4/21) and the first two quarters of 2022 (Q1/22 and Q2/22).
The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s were updated on Sept. 20 and the MBA’s on Sept. 22. But Freddie’s were last refreshed on July 15 because it now publishes these figures only quarterly. And its forecast is looking seriously stale.
However, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts may be even more speculative than usual.
All these forecasts expect higher mortgage rates soon or fairly soon. But the differences between the forecasters are stark. And it may be that Fannie isn’t building in the Federal Reserve’s tapering of its support for mortgage rates while Freddie and the MBA are. Or perhaps Fannie believes tapering will have little impact.
Find your lowest rate today
Some lenders have been spooked by the pandemic. And they’re restricting their offerings to just the most vanilla-flavored mortgages and refinances.
But others remain brave. And you can still probably find the cash-out refinance, investment mortgage or jumbo loan you want. You just have to shop around more widely.
But, of course, you should be comparison shopping widely, no matter what sort of mortgage you want. As federal regulator the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says:
Shopping around for your mortgage has the potential to lead to real savings. It may not sound like much, but saving even a quarter of a point in interest on your mortgage saves you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
Mortgage rate methodology
The Mortgage Reports receives rates based on selected criteria from multiple lending partners each day. We arrive at an average rate and APR for each loan type to display in our chart. Because we average an array of rates, it gives you a better idea of what you might find in the marketplace. Furthermore, we average rates for the same loan types. For example, FHA fixed with FHA fixed. The end result is a good snapshot of daily rates and how they change over time.