Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates only inched higher last Friday. But, with four days of rises out of five working days, last week was another bad one. Indeed, it was the seventh consecutive week during which those rates increased.
There’s a new sense of pessimism in markets this morning about a possible global economic slowdown. And that looks set to drive mortgage rates today significantly lower. But, as always, that could change as the day progresses.
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed||5.461%||5.486%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||4.709%||4.754%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 20 year fixed||5.502%||5.541%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 10 year fixed||4.551%||4.618%||Unchanged|
|30 year fixed FHA||5.384%||6.176%||Unchanged|
|15 year fixed FHA||5.062%||5.355%||Unchanged|
|30 year fixed VA||4.912%||5.12%||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?
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.
I see few grounds for optimism over mortgage rates in the lead-up to a critical Federal Reserve announcement on May 4. The pace of increases might or might not ease off after that. But, barring shocks, I doubt any falls over that period will survive long.
Still, markets this morning are very rate-friendly. And, if that continues for long, I may have to revisit my pessimism.
In the meantime, 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 last Friday, were:
- The yield on 10-year Treasury notes tumbled to 2.78% from 2.92%. (Very good 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 $96.27 from $102.50 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
- Gold prices dropped to $1,898 from $1,942 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 — inched higher to 35 from 34 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 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 tumble. 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?
The same things that have pushed mortgage rates sharply higher over the last seven weeks continue to hold sway. And those are fears of both inflation and how the Fed will tackle inflation.
This Friday could bring relief from higher rates when the March report of the Fed’s favorite measure of inflation is released. But, for that to happen, that day’s report would need to show inflation easing.
And how likely do you reckon that is? If the report shows inflation running hotter than expected, mortgage rates might get an extra shove upward.
Having said that, markets this morning seem to be newly pessimistic about the global economic outlook. And lower mortgage rates look to be on the cards. We’ll have to wait to see how that plays out.
May 4 critical
The Wednesday following that inflation report is May 4. And that might provide a more sustained break for mortgage rates. That’s when the Fed will announce some of its critical plans to fight inflation.
Markets have already done their best to anticipate what the Fed will say that day. So it’s the gap between those expectations and those announcements that will drive mortgage rates higher or lower.
Of course, if markets have guessed very accurately, that could leave these rates much the same.
For mortgage rates, the key May 4 announcement will concern the pace at which the Fed will run down its holdings of mortgage-backed securities (MBSs).
They’re the type of bond that largely determines mortgage rates. So this really is critical.
If the Fed reveals that it will reduce those holdings more quickly than markets expect, mortgage rates might rise. But if it’s more slowly, they could fall.
Recent rhetoric from top Fed officials suggests it’s going to act aggressively. And I’m not optimistic that any impact on May 4 will be friendly toward mortgage rates.
But let’s hope I’ll be surprised. It wouldn’t be the first time.
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.