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Mortgage And Refinance Rates Today, Dec. 21| Rates rising


Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates inched higher yesterday, but only by the smallest measurable amount. That was a surprise because there was mayhem in some other markets.

But, in spite of Omicron, mortgage rates today look likely to rise again. As one rates guru wrote this morning, “Go figure!”

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Dec 27th, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 3.294% 3.317% Unchanged
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.49% 2.524% +0.01%
Conventional 20 year fixed 3.14% 3.182% -0.01%
Conventional 10 year fixed 2.603% 2.67% -0.02%
30 year fixed FHA 3.323% 4.089% -0.01%
15 year fixed FHA 2.588% 3.234% +0.01%
5/1 ARM FHA 2.192% 3.11% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 3.169% 3.365% -0.02%
15 year fixed VA 2.84% 3.187% +0.02%
5/1 ARM VA 2.507% 2.512% -0.01%
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?

Might mortgage rates be immune from market panics over the Omicron variant? I doubt it, at least when viewed over a week or so.

But those rates inched higher yesterday. And we’re probably in for a repeat today. So I may be wrong.

Still, for now, my personal rate lock recommendations remain:

  • FLOAT if closing in 7 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 15 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 30 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 45 days
  • FLOAT 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 rose to 1.47% from 1.38%. (Bad for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were higher 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 rose to $70.42 from $67.28 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
  • Gold prices inched lower to $1,795 from $1,796 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 – increased to 30 from 25 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.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Dec 27th, 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?

There may be a bit of a bounce in stock markets today, as often happens after a very bad day. But the reasons for yesterday’s falls haven’t suddenly evaporated. They are:

  1. Fears over the Omicron variant’s economic impacts, globally and domestically
  2. Sen. Joe Manchin’s torpedoing of the Build Back Better Bill. Goldman Sachs slashed its gross domestic product forecast for the first quarter of 2022 to 2% from 3% on the news

Mortgage rates

If it weren’t for Omicron, mortgage rates would almost certainly be rising. And the fact they did yesterday (if only a tiny bit) and might do again shows how powerful the upward pressures on those rates remain.

In particular, those pressures are uncomfortably warm inflation and the Federal Reserve’s recent actions to accelerate its cuts to its COVID–19 stimulus program.

One of the Fed’s actions directly affects mortgage rates. That’s the faster winding down of its program to keep those rates artificially low.

Everything now depends on how much economic damage Omicron ends up wreaking. Because, if that is as great as some earlier variants caused, inflation might cool (only to spring back worse as the economy later revives) and the Fed could be forced to reverse direction.

As I said yesterday, nobody can currently be sure how bad Omicron will be for our health and wealth. And we just have to wait for a clearer picture once scientists have been able to collect, process and interpret the data they need.

For more background, read Saturday’s weekend edition of this daily report.


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 Dec. 16 report puts that weekly average for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages at 3.12% (with 0.6 fees and points), slightly up from the previous week’s 3.10%.

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 were published on Dec. 20 and the MBA’s on Nov. 22.

Freddie’s were released on Oct. 15. It now updates its forecasts only quarterly. So we may not get another from it until January. And its figures are already looking stale.

Forecaster Q4/21 Q1/22 Q2/22 Q3/22
Fannie Mae 3.1% 3.1%  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.

And none of these forecasters had any idea that Omicron might entirely change the models on which they’re based.

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.

Show me today’s rates (Dec 27th, 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.

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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