Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates barely moved yesterday, edging up just a bit. Overall, they’re certainly higher than they were in the summer. But changes over the last couple of months have been muted.
Mortgage rates today look likely to be unchanged or barely changed. But we’re all used to seeing markets swap direction during the day.
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed||3.355%||3.377%||-0.02%|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||2.528%||2.563%||+0.04%|
|Conventional 20 year fixed||3.137%||3.167%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 10 year fixed||2.655%||2.722%||+0.02%|
|30 year fixed FHA||3.232%||3.945%||+0.01%|
|15 year fixed FHA||2.601%||3.247%||+0.01%|
|5/1 ARM FHA||2.46%||3.224%||+0.04%|
|30 year fixed VA||3.029%||3.219%||+0.03%|
|15 year fixed VA||2.896%||3.244%||-0.01%|
|5/1 ARM VA||2.5%||2.533%||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?
Many investors continue to shrug off the threats posed by Omicron, the new COVID–19 variant. And they might yet be proved right. But I’ve been expecting much more caution from them at least until we can be sure how economically damaging it might be.
So far, I’ve been wrong in that expectation. But I still think attitudes might change, bringing lower mortgage rates. Read more on that below.
In any event, for now, my personal rate lock recommendations remain:
- FLOAT if closing in 7 days
- FLOAT if closing in 15 days
- FLOAT if closing in 30 days
- FLOAT if closing in 45 days
- FLOAT 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 inched down to 1.46% from 1.48%. (Good 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 $76.07 from $73.69 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
- Gold prices edged up to $1,816 from $1,811 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 – increased a little: to 57 from 56 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 remain unchanged or just inch either side of the neutral line. However, 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?
We often highlight the closeness of the relationship between mortgage rates and yields on 10–year Treasury notes. But recent business days have shown that the relationship is far from perfect. Treasury yields have inched lower while those rates haven’t.
Of course, I’m still hoping mortgage rates will catch up. But that’s far from certain. As is much else, in particular the threat posed by Omicron.
Many markets are acting as if the new variant poses no threats to the economy. Yesterday, all the major US stock indexes surged higher, with nearly all of them looking likely to end the year 20%+ higher than they started it.
Some of this may be down to the “Santa Claus rally,” a common event at the end of many years when stocks rise. As CNN Business observed this morning:
Wall Street may have aged out of its belief in Santa (apologies to our readers under age 10). But it does have faith in the so–called “Santa Claus rally.”
— CNN Business, “Before the Bell” e-newsletter, Dec. 28, 2021
But the last 24 hours have seen plenty of evidence of the economic harm that Omicron is already causing:
- China added hundreds of thousands more people to the lockdown in the city of Xi’an, where more than 13 million people are already under strict stay–at–home notices
- France tightened its restrictions, including mandatory home working for all who can for at least three days each week
- Delhi, India, has introduced near–lockdown conditions
- Malaysia banned mass New Year celebrations
- Thousands of flights have been canceled
- New York City implemented a vaccine mandate on small businesses
- Austria is introducing a vaccine mandate for its entire population
And they’re on top of a pile of economically damaging measures in countless countries that were already in place before yesterday morning.
Now, it’s true that Omicron typically produces fewer hospitalizations and deaths per thousand infections than earlier variants. And symptoms are often very mild. But it’s spreading much more quickly than those other variants, creating many times more new cases each day.
And some virus hot spots are already seeing worrying levels of occupancy of critical care beds. For example, in England, which is weeks ahead of us in its Omicron wave, COVID–19–related hospitalizations have soared 74% in a week and are now at their highest level since February.
Those who were hoping that Omicron would turn out to be a toothless virus may be rethinking their positions.
What this means for mortgage rates
If markets continue to ignore Omicron’s economic threat, mortgage rates will probably continue to drift higher. But, if they’re finally forced to acknowledge its danger, mortgage rates should fall.
I’m guessing the latter will happen. But heaven knows when.
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 Dec. 23 report puts that weekly average for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages at 3.05% (with 0.7 fees and points), down from the previous week’s 3.12%. But that won’t have taken into account all that week’s rises.
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 Dec. 20 and the MBA’s on Dec. 21.
Freddie’s were released on Oct. 15. It now updates its forecasts only quarterly. So we may not get another from it until January. And its figures are already looking stale.
However, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts may be even more speculative than usual.
And none of these forecasters had any idea that Omicron might entirely change the models on which they’re based.
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.
The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.