Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates fell moderately last Friday. Other markets plunged further, suggesting lenders may play catch up with lower rates this morning. However, that depends on whether investors remain spooked by the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
And there are signs they might not be. So mortgage rates today might move higher. But probably not as high as they were before Friday’s extraordinary events.
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed||3.349%||3.367%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||2.744%||2.773%||-0.02%|
|Conventional 20 year fixed||3.202%||3.237%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 10 year fixed||2.736%||2.792%||Unchanged|
|30 year fixed FHA||3.475%||4.242%||Unchanged|
|15 year fixed FHA||2.775%||3.421%||Unchanged|
|5/1 ARM FHA||2.594%||3.217%||Unchanged|
|30 year fixed VA||3.287%||3.483%||Unchanged|
|15 year fixed VA||2.839%||3.181%||Unchanged|
|5/1 ARM VA||2.5%||2.473%||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?
Last Friday gave markets a wild ride as the possible implications of the new Omicron variant shocked investors. But there are signs this morning that they may be getting over that shock.
I’m leaving my personal rate lock recommendations unchanged for the time being because I suspect Friday’s mayhem won’t continue. But that’s based on very little information. And, if I were you, I wouldn’t lock today.
But, for now, those 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 last Friday, were:
- The yield on 10-year Treasury notes rose to 1.56% from 1.52%. (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 fell to $72.56 from $72.87 a barrel. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.
- Gold prices decreased to $1,789 from $1,800 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 40 from 42 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 rise moderately. 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 a lot is 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?
The plain fact is that nobody knows how infectious and deadly the new Omicron variant is going to be. Nor whether existing vaccines will provide high levels of protection against it. Nor how much economic damage it might wreak.
But, overnight, markets around the world seemed to rethink last Friday’s wild plunge. And many were slowly recovering, though well short of last Thursday’s levels. The same seemed to be happening on Wall Street first thing.
This morning’s Guardian carried a helpful article by Devi Sridhar, who is a professor at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and chair of global public health there.
He said scientists were waiting on three sets of data to determine how worried we should be by Omicron. The first two were indications of how infectious it would be and how it would impact hospitalizations and deaths. Concerning the other, he wrote:
The third and most concerning piece of data is the potential for Omicron to erode the immunity afforded by vaccines. Crucially, this wouldn’t necessarily mean that our current vaccines would stop working against Omicron. It would mean they would be less effective at stopping transmission — and, most worryingly, at stopping people from going into hospital and dying. This is based on a virological analysis of the sequencing of Omicron’s genome, and we don’t yet know the implications it will have in the real world. Companies such as BioNTech, which developed the Pfizer vaccine, are already trying to gauge the impact their vaccine will have on this variant.
— The Guardian, “How bad will the Omicron Covid variant be in Britain? Three things will tell us,” Nov. 28, 2021
The professor suggested that scientists could theoretically deliver a new vaccine, re-engineered to counter Omicron, “within a matter of weeks.” But, of course, it would take a huge public health effort, almost certainly lasting months, to get that into enough arms to make a real difference.
Economic effects of Omicron
Meanwhile, many countries are reacting to the variant with new measures. Japan, Israel and Morocco have all sealed their borders. And several countries, including the US, have announced bans on flights from southern Africa, where Omicron was first discovered.
That may prove a good idea. Two flights from South Africa, together containing about 600 passengers, landed in the Netherlands over the weekend. Of those, 61 tested positive for COVID-19. And 13 of the 61 tested positive for the Omicron variant.
A Reuters report yesterday evening said that Omicron had by that time been found in Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Britain, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Canada and South Africa.
Thankfully, the United States is yet to make that list. But you may think it soon will.
Many countries are already beefing up their COVID-19 countermeasures, including stricter testing requirements for all international travelers and stronger mask mandates.
But, as Devi Sridhar suggested in the Guardian, we still don’t know enough for governments to make informed choices. Are these sensible precautionary measures or knee-jerk overreactions?
Of course, if Omicron does turn out to be as deadly as some fear, we’ll likely see more lockdowns and more economic damage both domestically and globally. And the recovery might pause or even be thrown into reverse.
If that were to happen, mortgage rates would likely tumble. In the meantime, markets generally might be highly volatile as good and bad news about Omicron feeds through from governments, scientists and news outlets.
For more background, read Saturday’s weekend edition of this daily report.
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. 24 report puts that weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 3.1% (with 0.7 fees and points), unchanged from the previous week.
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 were published on Nov. 18 and the MBA’s on Nov. 22.
Freddie’s were released on Oct. 15. It now updates its forecasts only quarterly. So we may not get another from it until January.
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.