Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates finally edged lower yesterday. It wasn’t a big fall. But every little bit helps.

Unfortunately, it’s looking so far this morning as if mortgage rates today might rise. But that could change as the day progresses.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Dec 30th, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 3.338% 3.36% -0.02%
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.489% 2.523% -0.04%
Conventional 20 year fixed 3.082% 3.115% -0.05%
Conventional 10 year fixed 2.611% 2.683% -0.04%
30 year fixed FHA 3.205% 3.917% -0.03%
15 year fixed FHA 2.592% 3.239% -0.01%
5/1 ARM FHA 2.443% 3.217% -0.01%
30 year fixed VA 3.02% 3.211% -0.01%
15 year fixed VA 2.908% 3.256% +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?

It’s still impossible to gauge the likely economic impact of the new Omicron variant of COVID–19 (more on that below).

But mortgage rates hinge on how damaging it is. They’ll probably fall if it’s serious. But they may continue to drift higher if it isn’t. You’re as qualified as I am to decide which of those is more likely and to lock or float your rate accordingly.

Still, 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 climbed to 1.52% from 1.46%. (Bad 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 fell to $75.70 from $76.07 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 $1,794 from $1,816 ounce. (Bad 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 – climbed to 61 from 57 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 move higher. However, be aware that “intraday swings” (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Dec 30th, 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.

A lot is going on at the moment. 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?

Unfortunately, we still don’t know how the new Omicron variant will play out. It’s easy to find experts who take a fairly optimistic view of its likely effects. But turn the page and there’s a different expert predicting doom and gloom.

Despite appearances, investors are human. And they care about the human costs of the pandemic. But, when they’re trading, their only concern is its economic impacts.

And, when it comes to Omicron, they’ve recently been shrugging off the possible risks and taking a sunny view of the future.

If the optimistic experts are correct, the new variant won’t significantly affect the economic recovery. And mortgage rates will probably resume their slow, upward drift.

But, if the pessimistic experts are proved right, that economic recovery could be thrown into reverse. And then those rates are likely to fall.

Sadly, this makes it a difficult time to decide whether to float or lock your mortgage rate. And nobody can give you wholly reliable advice about when to lock.

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.

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.

Forecaster Q4/21 Q1/22 Q2/22 Q3/22
Fannie Mae 3.1% 3.1%  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.

Find your lowest rate today

You should comparison shop 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.

Show me today’s rates (Dec 30th, 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.

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.



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