Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates just inched lower yesterday. That was a surprise because they’d looked set to head much lower. But any day this month when our rates table is mostly green is a win.

So far this morning, markets seem likely to push mortgage rates today lower. But, as we saw yesterday, there’s plenty of volatility around and my prediction could easily be overtaken by events.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Feb 18th, 2022)

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 4.137% 4.16% -0.01%
Conventional 15 year fixed 3.329% 3.357% -0.04%
Conventional 20 year fixed 3.875% 3.908% -0.03%
Conventional 10 year fixed 3.435% 3.502% -0.02%
30 year fixed FHA 4.255% 5.04% -0.01%
15 year fixed FHA 3.671% 4.328% +0.14%
30 year fixed VA 3.906% 4.108% -0.03%
15 year fixed VA 3.25% 3.58% -0.14%
5/1 ARM VA 4.75% 3.886% 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?

For investors, all eyes have switched to the Ukrainian frontier from the Federal Reserve’s countermeasures against inflation. How long their focus will remain there depends on what Russia does in the coming days and weeks.

A full–scale invasion and occupation could send mortgage rates lower for a while. But I suspect that would be a fairly short–lived anomaly in the underlying upward trend rather than a reversal of that trend. In other words, I expect mortgage rates to head higher again soon enough.

Still, there’s a chance of lower rates for a while. And it’s up to you whether you’re brave enough to gamble on floating your mortgage rate.

But 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 fell to 1.94% from 1.97%. (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 lower. (Good 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 dropped to $89.89 from $92.06 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
  • Gold prices rose to $1,900 from $1,892 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 – held steady at 39 out of 100. (Neutral 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 fall. 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 (Feb 18th, 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?

Ukraine’s predicament is already tragic and may well get worse. So it feels mercenary to even note that it’s good for mortgage rates – at least in the short term. The Washington Post (paywall) summed up the geopolitical situation overnight:

KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian officials accused Russia of trying to push them into war by ramping up the shelling of towns and villages in the country’s disputed eastern territories by Kremlin–backed separatist forces. The rate of fire into the communities along the contested “line of contact” between government forces and the militants more than tripled Thursday and continued into Friday, according to European monitors.

So, it seems President Vladimir Putin is trying to provoke the Ukrainian government into giving him an excuse to invade using the proxy of Russian–backed rebels who are shelling towns within Ukraine’s borders.

President Joe Biden is ramping up diplomatic efforts to de–escalate tensions. But even he appears pessimistic about the chances of success.

As a result, yesterday was a bad one for stock markets, although futures were rising overnight, according to The Wall Street Journal (paywall).

When investors sell stocks at such times they often put their money into safe–haven assets, including mortgage–backed securities, the type of bond that largely determines mortgage rates. That pushes up the prices of MBSs. And it’s a mathematical inevitability that higher prices mean lower yields – and mortgage rates.

But for how long may tensions in Ukraine push mortgage rates lower? A full–scale invasion and occupation of the country by Russia would certainly destabilize the region and make investors edgy.

Oil prices and inflation

But the biggest impact on the west of such a scenario would be higher oil prices, probably well north of $100 a barrel. After all, Russia is a major oil exporter, especially to Europe, so sanctions would likely lower the global supply of oil and push up its prices. And that would be bad for mortgage rates.

Because investors in MBSs and similar bonds hate high inflation. And it would also push the Federal Reserve to act even more aggressively to drive the inflation rate lower. That, too, would be bad for mortgage rates.

So there’s a real chance that the Ukrainian situation could push mortgage rates lower for a fairly brief time. But end up pushing them higher in the long run.

For a more detailed look at what’s happening to mortgage rates, read the latest weekend edition of this 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 that year, according to Freddie Mac.

The most recent weekly record low occurred on Jan. 7, 2021, 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 last September, the rises have grown more pronounced, though not consistently so. So far in 2022, rises have been appreciable and relatively consistent.

Freddie’s Feb. 17 report puts that weekly average for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages at 3.92% (with 0.8 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 3.69%.

Expert mortgage rate forecasts – Updated today

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 four quarters of 2022 (Q1/22, Q2/22, Q3/22, Q4/22).

The numbers in the table below are for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages. Fannie’s were published on Feb. 18 and Freddie’s and the MBA’s on Jan. 21.

Forecaster Q1/22 Q2/22 Q3/22 Q4/22
Fannie Mae 3.5% 3.6%  3.7% 3.7%
Freddie Mac 3.5% 3.6%  3.7% 3.7%
MBA 3.3% 3.5%  3.7% 4.0%

Of course, 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 (Feb 18th, 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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