Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates rose yesterday, setting a new recent high. Indeed, it’s a new high for longer than just recently: You have to go back more than 12 years to see these rates so elevated.
First thing this morning, mortgage rates today looked likely to rise. But we’ve often seen how unreliable these early movements can be when predicting rates.
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed||5.486%||5.513%||+0.1%|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||4.63%||4.667%||+0.09%|
|Conventional 20 year fixed||5.425%||5.467%||+0.1%|
|Conventional 10 year fixed||4.45%||4.513%||-0.03%|
|30 year fixed FHA||5.364%||6.156%||+0.13%|
|15 year fixed FHA||4.706%||5.003%||+0.18%|
|30 year fixed VA||4.919%||5.128%||-0.24%|
|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?
Don’t lock on a day when mortgage rates look set to fall. My recommendations (below) are intended to give longer-term suggestions about the overall direction of those rates. So, they don’t change daily to reflect fleeting sentiments in volatile markets.
Markets still seem in no mood to cut mortgage rates a break. And each day delivering a worthwhile fall is soon followed by an even more significant rise. This can’t go on forever. But it’s persisting for now.
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 edged up to 2.92% from 2.89%. (Bad for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
- Major stock indexes were lower soon after opening. (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 fell to $102.50 from $103.99 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
- Gold prices nudged lower to $1,942 from $1,948 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 — tumbed to 34 from 48 out of 100. (Good 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 movement of less than $20 on gold prices or 40 cents on oil ones is a change of 1% or less. 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 increase. 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 the coming hours, days, weeks or months.
Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?
In an e-newsletter delivered overnight, Economist magazine Editor-in-Chief Zanny Minton Beddoes launched a blistering attack on the Federal Reserve:
|Central banks are supposed to inspire confidence in the economy by keeping inflation low and stable. Yet America’s Federal Reserve has suffered a hair-raising loss of control. Consumer prices in March were 8.5% higher than a year before, and nearly a fifth of Americans say inflation is the country’s most important problem.|
The latest edition of The Economist has the cover headline, “The Fed That Failed.”
Yesterday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell seemed aware of such perceptions. And he raised expectations of harsh measures to rein in inflation. “It is appropriate in my view to be moving a little more quickly,” he said during a panel discussion hosted by the International Monetary Fund. “I also think there’s something in the idea of front-end loading.”
By “front-end loading,” he meant that the Fed could be extra tough in tackling inflation at the start, and maybe less so later.
Why this matters to mortgage rates
All this bodes ill for mortgage rates between now and the next round of Fed announcements, due May 4. Those rates have been rising as markets have tried to anticipate what plans may be unveiled that day.
And the tougher the Fed talks before then, the more fearful markets become and the higher those rates are likely to rise.
Actually, there won’t be any talk after tomorrow because the central bank bans public pronouncements in the run-up to its monetary policy committee (Federal Open Market Committee or FOMC) meetings. The rule is that these blackout periods “begin at the start of the second Saturday (midnight) Eastern Time before the beginning of the meeting and will end at midnight Eastern Time on the next day after the meeting.”
In other words, tomorrow night is the deadline for Fed speeches, comments and interviews before May 4. And markets have the following 10 days to wait for more information. During that time, Mr. Powell’s no-holds-barred tough talk will be ringing in their ears.
Both the key announcements due on May 4 will affect mortgage rates. They are hiking the Fed’s own federal funds rate and the running down of its holdings of mortgage bonds.
The question is, will markets have anticipated those announcements accurately? If so, mortgage rates may hold steady that day. And, if markets have overestimated the Fed’s aggression, they might fall. But, if they’ve underestimated that aggression, they might rise.
Read the weekend edition of this daily article for more background.
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.
Freddie’s Apr. 21 report puts that same weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 5.11% (with 0.8 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 5%.
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 remaining three quarters of 2022 (Q2/22, Q3/22, Q4/22) and the first quarter of next year (Q1/23).
The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s were published on Apr. 19, Freddie’s on Apr. 18, and the MBA’s on Apr. 13.
Of course, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts might be even more speculative than usual. I’m afraid I’m less optimistic than any of them.
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.