Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Bond markets were closed yesterday. But average mortgage rates rose sharply on Wednesday. That day, Freddie Mac suggested in its weekly report that those for 30-year, fixed-rate loans had dropped below 3% again. But they were above that by that evening.
However, markets first thing were suggesting that mortgage rates today might hold steady or just inch either side of the neutral line. Of course, that could change as the day progresses.
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed||3.265%||3.284%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||2.682%||2.712%||+0.02%|
|Conventional 20 year fixed||3.141%||3.174%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 10 year fixed||2.644%||2.702%||Unchanged|
|30 year fixed FHA||3.326%||4.09%||+0.01%|
|15 year fixed FHA||2.534%||3.138%||Unchanged|
|5/1 ARM FHA||2.663%||3.206%||Unchanged|
|30 year fixed VA||2.931%||3.117%||Unchanged|
|15 year fixed VA||2.65%||2.99%||Unchanged|
|5/1 ARM VA||2.606%||2.47%||Unchanged|
|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?
I’m not going to claim that one day’s sharp rise means that I’m right that mortgage rates will resume their upward trend. But it doesn’t detract from my case.
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
>Related: 7 Tips to get the best refinance rate
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 jumped to 1.56% from 1.50%. (Bad 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 tumbled to $80.69 from $84.06 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.
- Gold prices fell back to $1,859 from $1,866 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 — edged down to 82 from 84 out of 100. (Good 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 their 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.
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?
Sometimes, markets pause after sharp rises and fall back a little. That might happen this time, though not necessarily today.
All that’s certain is that investors were shocked by Wednesday’s consumer price index (CPI) that showed those prices rising 6.2% year over year. That was the highest inflation rate since November 1990 and much worse than analysts had forecast.
Why inflation affects mortgage rates
Mortgage rates are largely determined by the yields on a type of bond called a mortgage-backed security (MBS). These are seen as safer than bonds issued by companies. But less safe than those issued by the US Treasury.
But purchasing any bond buys you a fixed income (“yield”), which can’t rise or fall as long as the bond exists. And, right now, you might get 2.x% as your yield on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage MBS.
However, remember Wednesday’s CPI figure. Inflation is running at 6.2%. You don’t need to have won a Fields Medal for math to realize that a 2.x% yield will give you a “real-terms” (after inflation) loss on your investment.
Don’t expect 6.2% mortgage rates anytime soon
Of course, that doesn’t mean that mortgage rates have to rise to 6.2% to attract investors. Those rates just have to be a bit more attractive than the competition. And, if you want somewhere safe for your money, that competition is pretty weak. Have you checked out yields on savings accounts recently?
Indeed, central banks in Denmark, the euro area, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland have been offering negative interest rates, some for the last nine years. And still people have deposit accounts, even though they have to pay the bank for the privilege.
How come? Well, it’s cheaper to pay the bank to look after your money than to build your own secure warehouse, pile it high with bank notes, staff it 24/365 with guards and insure everything. And, incredibly, the International Monetary Fund reckons these negative interest rates have been economically beneficial.
Right now, banks in America are likely buying quantities of MBSs, simply because those are the best of a bad bunch of choices. They have way more cash on deposit than people want to borrow. And they have to put some of it somewhere safer than stocks.
So don’t expect 6.2% mortgage rates anytime soon. But don’t be surprised if they get there one day. Historically, that’s pretty normal.
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, though not consistently so.
Freddie’s Nov. 10 report puts that weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 2.98% (with 0.7 fees and points), down from the previous week’s 3.09%. But that didn’t take into account that Wednesday’s sharp rise.
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.