Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates rose yet again yesterday. And that took them to their highest level in several months. But, of course, they remain ridiculously low by historical standards.

So far this morning, it’s looking as if mortgage rates today might hold steady or barely move. But that could change.

Find and lock a low rate (Oct 22nd, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 3.317% 3.336% +0.07%
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.644% 2.672% +0.04%
Conventional 20 year fixed 3.127% 3.161% +0.08%
Conventional 10 year fixed 2.572% 2.628% +0.04%
30 year fixed FHA 3.306% 4.07% +0.08%
15 year fixed FHA 2.618% 3.262% +0.05%
5/1 ARM FHA 2.78% 3.239% +0.05%
30 year fixed VA 3.17% 3.364% +0.07%
15 year fixed VA 2.8% 3.15% +0.01%
5/1 ARM VA 2.622% 2.455% +0.05%
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.
Find and lock a low rate (Oct 22nd, 2021)

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?

Mortgage rates have been rising persistently in recent weeks. And I see little sign of them falling back anytime soon.

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 held steady at 1.66%. (Neutral for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were mostly 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 rose to $83.38 from $82.60 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity. 
  • Gold prices increased to $1,810 from $1,782 an ounce. (Good 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 indexinched higher to 70 from 69 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 barely changed. But be aware that “intraday swings” (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

Find and lock a low rate (Oct 22nd, 2021)

Important notes on today’s mortgage rates

Here are some things you need to know:

  1. 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
  2. Only “top-tier” borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you’ll see advertised
  3. 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
  4. When daily rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
  5. 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

My hopes, expressed yesterday, for a bit of a breather for mortgage rates were dashed almost before my metaphorical ink was dry. Those rates ended that day appreciably higher than they started it.

Two forces have been pushing rates upward over the last month or so:

  1. On Sept. 22, the Federal Reserve signaled that it was highly likely that it would wind down certain cheap-money policies, with a firm announcement expected on Nov. 3 and implementation in the middle of that month. Those policies included one that has been keeping mortgage rates artificially low for the last 18 months
  2. Since Sept. 13, rates of new COVID-19 infections in America have been tumbling. And fear of the economic consequences of the pandemic has been the underlying driver of low mortgage rates since the coronavirus was first taken seriously

And there’s a third driver of higher mortgage rates, though it’s not one tied to September in particular. That’s inflation, which is currently running somewhere between warm and hot. Many expected that to be cooling by now. But it’s yet to show signs of doing so.

Some good news — maybe

For some months, I’ve been expecting the Fed’s winding down of its cheap-mortgage-rates policy (“tapering of its quantitative easing policy” in Fed-speak) to create a sharp spike in those rates when it’s announced. That’s what happened the last time it ended a similar policy, back in 2013.

But, this time, it’s been much better at signaling its intentions. So some of the rate rises we’ve seen in recent weeks are likely investors positioning themselves in advance of that near-certain Nov. 3 announcement.

And that might mean that the announcement itself will create a much smaller spike, if any at all. Is that good news? Maybe. You’ll have had plenty of chances to lock at a lower rate. And you’ll be less shocked if you haven’t by then.

Of course, nothing’s inevitable. It’s always possible that something catastrophic will come along (a new, vaccine-resistant strain of COVID-19 or a US-China war over Taiwan, for example) that wrecks the economic recovery and sends mortgage rates plunging to new lows. But let’s hope those remain as unlikely as they currently seem.

For more information about the current influences on mortgage rates, read last Saturday’s weekend edition of these daily reports.

Recently

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. 21 report puts that weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 3.09% (with 0.7 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 3.05%.

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.

Forecaster Q4/21 Q1/22 Q2/22 Q3/22
Fannie Mae 3.1% 3.2%  3.2% 3.3%
Freddie Mac 3.2% 3.4%  3.5% 3.6%
MBA 3.1% 3.3%  3.5% 3.7%

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.

Verify your new rate (Oct 22nd, 2021)

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.

 


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