Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates held steady last Friday. While mortgage rates closed the week modestly lower than they started it, they remain close to their six-month highs. But, of course, they’re still extraordinarily low compared to almost any time in history.
Unfortunately, mortgage rates today look likely to rise, though probably only modestly. But markets are volatile so there are no guarantees.
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed||3.22%||3.239%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||2.622%||2.653%||+0.02%|
|Conventional 20 year fixed||3.013%||3.047%||+0.03%|
|Conventional 10 year fixed||2.538%||2.593%||+0.02%|
|30 year fixed FHA||3.209%||3.971%||Unchanged|
|15 year fixed FHA||2.566%||3.21%||Unchanged|
|5/1 ARM FHA||2.65%||3.207%||+0.01%|
|30 year fixed VA||3.118%||3.311%||Unchanged|
|15 year fixed VA||2.8%||3.15%||+0.03%|
|5/1 ARM VA||2.612%||2.427%||+0.01%|
|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.|
Should you lock a mortgage rate today?
This week may bring some big events. But I doubt any of them will arrest — let alone reverse — the current upward trend in mortgage rates.
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
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 last Friday, were:
- The yield on 10-year Treasury notes inched down to 1.60% from 1.61%. (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 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 soared to $84.77 from $82.40 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.
- Gold prices nudged up to $1,790 from $1,778 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 — jumped to 78 from 71 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 might rise. 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
Two economic events this week could disrupt markets. But neither is likely to drive mortgage rates much lower, at least in a sustained way.
First up, is an announcement on Wednesday following a two-day meeting of that organization’s monetary policy committee, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). Pretty much everyone thinks it will say that day that it will begin to wind down the “quantitative easing” (cheap money) programs that it implemented in response to economic harm caused by the pandemic. This morning’s Financial Times called this the “dawning of the quantitative tightening era.”
One of these programs has been keeping mortgage rates artificially low for the last 19 months. The Fed’s been buying mortgage bonds (“mortgage-backed securities”) at a rate of $40 billion a month for that period. And many expect it to taper those by reducing that sum by $5 billion each month until its purchases reach zero in mid-2022.
I used to think that Wednesday’s announcement would cause mortgage rates to spike. Because that’s what happened the last time the Fed said it would taper a similar program, in 2013. But this time is different. The FOMC has clearly signaled its intentions, allowing markets to get used to the idea over the last few months. And recent mortgage rate rises have probably been a result of those markets adjusting to what they see as inevitable.
So Wednesday’s announcement may bring only a small reaction in markets. However, I expect mortgage rates to continue to rise gently as the Fed whittles down its support for low rates.
Of course, we won’t know for sure the Fed’s intentions before Wednesday. And there’s an outside chance that it will delay action until its next meeting in mid-December, or even beyond then. But expectations of an announcement that day are so high and near-universal that the FOMC’s highly likely to proceed as anticipated.
This week’s second big event is due on Friday when the jobs report (“employment situation report”) is published. This is arguably the most influential of all economic reports. And markets may react with lower mortgage rates if it’s unexpectedly terrible — or higher ones if it’s better than expected.
However, I doubt it will be bad enough to undermine the current upward trend in mortgage rates for long. So don’t pin too many hopes on it.
And, of course, it’s always possible that something momentous comes at us out of left field and changes everything. But let’s hope that remains unlikely. Because it would have to be devastating to have much impact.
For more background, 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.
Since then, the picture has been mixed with extended periods of rises and falls. Unfortunately, since September, the rises have grown more pronounced.
Freddie’s Oct. 28 report puts that weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 3.14% (with 0.7 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 3.09%.
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, current 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.