Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates rose moderately yesterday. Just over a year ago, these rates hit their all–time low: 2.65%. But now they’re mostly closer to 4% than 3%. Still, that remains remarkably low by historical standards.

At last, it’s looking more likely that mortgage rates today will hold steady or fall rather than increase. But I suspect this will be a brief and shallow dip before more rises occur.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Jan 19th, 2022)

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 3.87% 3.891% +0.14%
Conventional 15 year fixed 3.192% 3.23% +0.12%
Conventional 20 year fixed 3.72% 3.753% +0.24%
Conventional 10 year fixed 3.14% 3.215% +0.13%
30 year fixed FHA 3.91% 4.689% +0.13%
15 year fixed FHA 3.137% 3.751% +0.02%
5/1 ARM FHA 3.731% 3.961% +0.06%
30 year fixed VA 3.946% 4.156% +0.31%
15 year fixed VA 3.342% 3.684% +0.11%
5/1 ARM VA 3.412% 2.999% +0.13%
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?

The last month has been terrible for mortgage rates. And I see few signs that things are going to get better, at least in a sustained and worthwhile way. Indeed, I reckon it would take a cataclysmic event to turn their direction around.

So, for now, 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 increased to 1.85% from 1.83%. (Bad for mortgage rates.) But that yield was falling first thing. More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were modestly higher. (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 climbed to $86.60 from $84.85 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
  • Gold prices rose to $1,827 from $1,813 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 – increased to 68 from 53 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 are likely to hold steady or fall modestly. 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 (Jan 19th, 2022)

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?

Once again, CNBC this morning ascribed rising bond yields (and thus mortgage rates) to a “growing investor anticipation that the Federal Reserve could soon start to hike interest rates.”

Yes, I know. The Fed doesn’t directly determine mortgage rates. Their levels are mostly down to trading in mortgage–backed securities (MBSs), a type of bond.

But the Fed’s plans certainly affect bond markets. And, right now, they’re influencing them hugely.

Yes, it’s possible the Fed will end up acting less aggressively. This morning’s Financial Times (paywall) posed a question for all central bankers (the Fed’s ours), “Will policymakers dare to withdraw stimulus and raise interest rates if there is a risk of a blow–up in asset prices?” (Paywall.)

Certainly, the Fed has to navigate a difficult path as it acts to rein in inflation – while at the same time not killing the economic recovery by hiking rates too quickly. Perhaps it will one day need to moderate its hikes.

Bad outlook

But that’s unlikely to be anytime soon. And almost certainly not before you have to lock your rate.

So, as far as I can tell, we seem to be facing higher mortgage rates for some time to come. Of course, rises will inevitably be relieved by occasional periods of modest falls – perhaps we’ll see one today.

But, to my eyes, the future for these rates looks grim right now. And only something massive and horrible (a new, deadly COVID–19 variant, a serious war in which the US participates, stock market collapse, huge natural disaster …) is likely to send them sharply lower for a sustained period.

For a longer overview of what’s driving mortgage rates, including why markets are optimistic about Omicron, read the weekend edition of this daily rates report.

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 Jan. 13 report puts that weekly average for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages at 3.45% (with 0.7 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 3.22%.

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 later this month. 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 (Jan 19th, 2022)

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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