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Mortgage And Refinance Rates Today, Nov. 18| Rates steady-ish


Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates edged lower yesterday It wasn’t enough to make much difference. But it was a relief after some painful rises. Overall, they mostly remain in the low-3% range, which is exceptionally good by historical standards.

First thing this morning, markets were signaling that mortgage rates today are unlikely to move far, if at all. But that could change as the hours pass.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Nov 18th, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 3.284% 3.303% -0.02%
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.689% 2.718% -0.03%
Conventional 20 year fixed 3.14% 3.171% -0.04%
Conventional 10 year fixed 2.668% 2.732% -0.04%
30 year fixed FHA 3.347% 4.112% Unchanged
15 year fixed FHA 2.621% 3.265% -0.07%
5/1 ARM FHA 2.542% 3.178% -0.04%
30 year fixed VA 2.926% 3.113% -0.02%
15 year fixed VA 2.758% 3.1% -0.07%
5/1 ARM VA 2.559% 2.387% -0.02%
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 get too excited yet about yesterday’s fall — nor any subsequent ones. Because I suspect they’ll turn out to be a shallow and temporary blip in an overall upward trend.

So 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 last yesterday, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes fell to 1.60% from 1.63%. (Good for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were mixed 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 fell to $78.86 from $79.95 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity. 
  • Gold prices inched down to $1,866 from $1,867 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 — dropped to 77 from 81 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 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 their 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 look likely to remain unchanged or barely changed. But be aware that “intraday swings” (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Nov 18th, 2021)

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. And a recent regulatory change has narrowed a gap that previously existed

So a lot is going on here. 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?

I remain convinced that mortgage rates remain on an upward trend that will inevitably be punctuated by periods of falls. Mostly, those periods are likely to be brief. But we just experienced one that lasted a couple of weeks.

Inflation can push rates lower as well as higher

One of the main drivers of higher mortgage rates is persistent and warm-hot inflation. Read last Saturday’s weekend edition for more information about that.

But inflation can also bring shorter-term falls in these rates. That’s because it can affect consumer confidence and cause falls in retail sales. And, with personal consumption by far the largest component of gross domestic product in this country, that could throw the economic recovery into reverse.

Of course, that’s not happening yet. Tuesday brought some excellent figures for retail sales in October, even though consumer sentiment is currently at a 10-year low.

Last week, I explored why that might be. Consumers have a pessimistic view of the economy generally, while at the same time viewing their own economic futures positively. Too many are getting a slanted view of the general economic outlook from biased news sources, even when they know they personally are doing just fine.

But, if enough end up believing — contrary to reality — that the economy’s doing badly, they may curb their spending. And, were that to happen in a widespread and sustained way, their mistaken belief could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I bring this up to show there are no certainties when it comes to future mortgage rates. And even things that might push them higher in the long run can drag them lower for a while.

But none of this has yet undermined my belief that mortgage rates will remain on their upward trend for months to come. Read Monday’s edition of this daily report to discover the powerful forces that are driving that trend.

Recently — updated today

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 last year, according to Freddie Mac.

The most recent weekly record low occurred on Jan. 7, 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 September, the rises have grown more pronounced, though not consistently so.

Freddie’s Nov. 17 report puts that weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 3.1% (with 0.7 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 2.98%.

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, current quarter of 2021 (Q4/21) and the first three quarters of 2022 (Q1/22, Q2/22 and Q3/22).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s and Freddie’s were published on Oct. 15 and the MBA’s on Oct. 18.

Forecaster Q4/21 Q1/22 Q2/22 Q3/22
Fannie Mae 3.1% 3.2%  3.2% 3.3%
Freddie Mac 3.2% 3.4%  3.5% 3.6%
MBA 3.1% 3.3%  3.5% 3.7%

However, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts may be even more speculative than usual.

All these forecasts expect at least modestly higher mortgage rates fairly soon.

Find your lowest rate today

Some lenders have been spooked by the pandemic. And they’re restricting their offerings to just the most vanilla-flavored mortgages and refinances.

But others remain brave. And you can still probably find the cash-out refinance, investment mortgage or jumbo loan you want. You just have to shop around more widely.

But, of course, you should be comparison shopping 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.

Verify your new rate (Nov 18th, 2021)

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.

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