Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates rose appreciably yesterday. And they’re now at their highest point since June. However, don’t forget that they’re still exceptionally low by historical standards.
First thing, markets were pointing to mortgage rates today holding steady or just inching either side of the neutral line. But that could change as the day progresses.Find and lock a low rate (Oct 19th, 2021)
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed||3.255%||3.275%||+0.02%|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||2.617%||2.647%||+0.01%|
|Conventional 20 year fixed||3.043%||3.079%||+0.05%|
|Conventional 10 year fixed||2.531%||2.591%||+0.03%|
|30 year fixed FHA||3.232%||3.994%||+0.02%|
|15 year fixed FHA||2.577%||3.221%||+0.01%|
|5/1 ARM FHA||2.685%||3.201%||+0.03%|
|30 year fixed VA||3.095%||3.288%||+0.06%|
|15 year fixed VA||2.764%||3.114%||-0.01%|
|5/1 ARM VA||2.511%||2.423%||+0.03%|
|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?
We had a couple of good days for mortgage rates last week. But the gains they delivered have been more than wiped out by rises last Friday and yesterday. And I suspect that’s the pattern we’ll see for months to come: a rising trend punctuated by occasional and brief falls.
So 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 1.61% from 1.62%. (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. But this is an imperfect relationship
- Oil prices fell to $82.23 from $83.39 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.
- Gold prices rose to $1,777 from $1,768 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 63 from 53 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 be unchanged or to barely move. 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
Yesterday, I updated the “expert mortgage rate forecasts” table (below). It shows the opinions of the teams of specialist economists employed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). And they predict what will happen to mortgage rates in the coming quarters.
I’m a little surprised that Fannie and the MBA’s teams expect average rates for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) to barely rise during the remainder of 2021. They both reckon those rates will average 3.1% over the current quarter — of which just over 10 weeks remain. Compare that with Freddie’s weekly report saying 30-year FRMs averaged 3.05% during the seven days ending on Oct. 14.
Yes, Fannie and the MBA both agree that these rates will rise. But not by much. And Freddie’s only a bit less optimistic. It thinks the same rate will average 3.2% this quarter.
All three expect rises in the first three quarters of 2022. But they diverge over how big those will be. Fannie thinks they’ll be averaging 3.3% during Quarter 3, while Freddie’s expecting that number to be 3.6% and the MBA 3.7%.
I can’t tell you how much more credible those experts’ opinions are than mine. They’re whole teams of specialists, working full time and employing sophisticated computer models. And I’m just … well, me.
However, that won’t stop me throwing in my two cents. Of course, Fannie, Freddie and the MBA may well turn out to be right. But I’m looking at the Federal Reserve’s imminent winding down (“tapering”) of its active support for low mortgage rates, stubbornly high inflation rates and tumbling new infection rates for COVID-19. And I question those experts’ optimism.
Indeed, absent some economic catastrophe, I shouldn’t be surprised if those average mortgage rates ended this year appreciably higher than 3.1% or 3.2%. And were around 4% later next year. Luckily, nobody much will remember if I’m proved wrong. But there will be no stopping my crowing if I turn out to be right.
For more information about the current influences on mortgage rates, read last Saturday’s weekend edition of these daily reports.
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 mostly 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%. Freddie Chief Economist Sam Khater remarked in a statement that day:
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to its highest point since April. As inflationary pressure builds due to the ongoing pandemic and tightening monetary policy [the Fed’s tapering], we expect rates to continue a modest upswing.
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 quarter of 2021 (Q4/21) and the first three quarters of 2022 (Q1/22, Q2/22 and Q3/22).
The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s and Freddie’s were published on Oct. 15 and the MBA’s on Oct. 18.
However, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts may be even more speculative than usual.
All these forecasts expect at least modestly higher mortgage rates fairly soon.
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.