Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates rose sharply again yesterday, pushing them to their highest level in roughly three years.
Unfortunately, markets first thing this morning were still looking unfriendly. And mortgage rates today look set to rise even higher. However, amid the current volatility, nothing’s certain.
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed||4.154%||4.178%||+0.09%|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||3.337%||3.366%||+0.09%|
|Conventional 20 year fixed||3.957%||3.988%||+0.14%|
|Conventional 10 year fixed||3.313%||3.377%||-0.07%|
|30 year fixed FHA||4.315%||5.104%||+0.07%|
|15 year fixed FHA||3.717%||4.375%||+0.12%|
|30 year fixed VA||4.317%||4.526%||+0.07%|
|15 year fixed VA||3.378%||3.709%||+0.12%|
|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?
Nothing’s changed since yesterday. I’d lock soon, though not on a day when mortgage rates look set to fall.
True, you might miss out on further falls by locking early, which still might come as byproducts of the war in Ukraine. But, to my eyes, the current bout of volatility is more likely to end with mortgage rates higher and resuming their upward trend.
Of course, I could be wrong. And, in any event, I’d be surprised if any post–crisis rate rises were to be as sharp as those across most of February. But I can see little prospect of worthwhile and sustained falls in mortgage rates for a long time to come. Read on for more analysis.
So, 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 1.92% from 1.87%. (Bad for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
- Major stock indexes were soaring 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 $117.71 from $125.74 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
- Gold prices decreased to $1,990 from $2,037 an 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 – held steady at 16 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 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:
- 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.
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?
As I’ve explained over the last few days, markets mostly appear to be perceiving Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in ways that are unfriendly to mortgage rates.
Yes, they’re still concerned about the resulting disruption of the global economy. But they’re even more spooked by the war’s likely effect on inflation.
We can see why, almost in real–time, every time we pass a gas station. But, behind the scenes, prices of other commodities – from wheat to nickel (essential for many batteries) and aluminum – have also been spiking to all–time highs.
Tomorrow, we’ll get to see the consumer price index for February. And most economists are expecting another jump in the year–over–year figure: to 7.8% that month from 7.5% in January, according to a MarketWatch poll.
But Russia didn’t launch its invasion until Feb. 24. So tomorrow’s figures will reflect very little of the war’s inflationary pressures.
The Fed and mortgage rates
Only last week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told legislators on Capitol Hill that his organization was braced to tackle inflation. And he implied it would do all it could to bring it down.
The trouble is that almost everything it can do is likely to push mortgage rates higher. From hiking its own interest rates to selling some of its $2.69 trillion holdings of mortgage–backed securities (the type of bond that largely determines mortgage rates), the prospects for those rates are not positive.
True, the Fed is more interested in “core” inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, than headline numbers. So its reactions to coming figures may be more subdued than some fear.
With luck, that should mean the future for mortgage rates may be less alarming than you’d think. But it’s hard to imagine those rates falling far and for long in the coming months.
For a more detailed look at what’s happening to mortgage rates, read the latest weekend edition of this report. And for further expert opinions, read Mortgage interest rate predictions: Will rates go down in March 2022?
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.
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.