Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates rose unexpectedly sharply yesterday. So the rollercoaster continues, with these rates moving up and down at speeds we rarely see.

Mortgage rates today look likely to rise again, perhaps appreciably. But markets remain volatile, so nothing’s certain.

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 4.065% 4.088% +0.09%
Conventional 15 year fixed 3.244% 3.273% -0.08%
Conventional 20 year fixed 3.811% 3.845% -0.02%
Conventional 10 year fixed 3.386% 3.448% +0.11%
30 year fixed FHA 4.265% 5.031% +0.07%
15 year fixed FHA 3.596% 4.253% +0.04%
5/1 ARM FHA 4.75% 4.708% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 4.249% 4.457% +0.11%
15 year fixed VA 3.263% 3.593% +0.05%
5/1 ARM VA 4.75% 3.847% 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 impossible to predict how long the current volatility will continue, nor where mortgage rates will end up.

If I were choosing when to lock my own rate, I’d do so today. But I can’t promise there won’t be further falls. And, if you’re braver than me, you might legitimately choose to wait to see whether those falls materialize. Just recognize you’re making a wager with unknown chances and high stakes.

And my personal rate lock recommendations for the longer term 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 climbed to 1.87% from 1.77%. (Bad for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were mixed and barely moving soon after opening. (Neutral 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 $125.74 from $117.01 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
  • Gold prices jumped to $2,037 from $1,981 an ounce. (Good 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 up to 16 from 14 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 rise. 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:

  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 will happen to mortgage rates in coming hours, days, weeks or months.

Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?

Today

Yesterday, I said that some experts disagree with my hypothesis that mortgage rates are likely to continue to rise. And you should take them seriously.

They may be right that markets have already priced in most of the rises those rates will likely make in response to the Federal Reserve’s countermeasures against inflation. And they point to similar historical scenarios where mortgage rates have actually fallen after reaching a similar point to where they are now. These are distinguished experts who may well turn out to be right.

But I’m yet to be convinced. The trouble with historical precedents is that their circumstances pretty much never match precisely with current ones. And, over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stoke inflation, which was already running hot before the war.

Meanwhile, as I wrote yesterday, “Last week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell told legislators that the war in Ukraine would not cause his organization to back off. He also predicted during his testimony that ‘Mortgage rates will go up.’“

So I think mortgage rates are still likely to resume their upward trend, once things settle down. However, I’m not expecting them to climb as quickly as they did earlier this year.

Having said all that, does anyone know a good supplier of humble pie? Just in case.

Stagflation

“Stagflation” is a word that’s recently been cropping up more frequently in the financial press. It’s a portmanteau word that describes a period of stagnant growth and high inflation. And some think we may be in for a bout of it.

That’s possible. But Mr. Powell made clear at that Congressional testimony last week that he was prepared to do whatever it takes to avoid one. He mentioned his admiration for Paul Volcker, a previous Fed chair who tamed inflation in the early 1980s.

The Volcker Shock

The “Volker Shock” certainly brought to an end an extended period of inflation. But, as a Boston University paper noted in 2005: ” … Volcker disinflation … [involved] a cumulative output loss of about 20% according to traditional calculations. While far less than predicted, the output losses were substantial by the standards of post–war U.S. history and had great effect on the lives of many individuals during the period.”

With luck, we’re still a long way from any actions like that. And you might expect a new Volcker Shock to be good for mortgage rates. After all, those rates usually fall when the economy’s doing poorly.

But Mr. Volcker’s actions actually pushed mortgage rates higher during his recession. Indeed, they averaged 16.63% in 1981 and 16.04% the following year, only dropping back to 13.24% in 1983, according to Freddie Mac’s archive. You see? Historical precedents aren’t always reliable.

As I said, I doubt we’re even close to a new Volcker Shock. And I wonder whether the current circumstances would warrant one. They’re very different from those in 1980.

But I do believe the Fed will act decisively to bring down the inflation rate. And I do expect mortgage rates to continue higher as a result. Just don’t forget the Humble Pie.

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, the rises have grown more pronounced since last September, though not consistently so.

Freddie’s March 3 report puts that weekly average for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages at 3.76% (with 0.8 fees and points), down from the previous week’s 3.89%. But that report won’t have included that Wednesday’s sharp rise.

Note that Freddie expects you to buy discount points (“with 0.8 fees and points”) on closing that earn you a lower rate. If you don’t do that, your rate would be closer to the ones we and others quote.

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 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 the MBA’s on Feb. 25. But Freddie now publishes these forecasts every quarter, most recently 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 3.8% 4.0%  4.1% 4.3%

Note that those figures were issued before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 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.”

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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