Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates edged lower yesterday. But only by a bit. And they remain close to their two-year high.
Earlier today it was looking as if mortgage rates today hold steady or close to steady. But my daily predictions have been far from reliable recently, simply owing to markets’ current high levels of volatility.
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed||3.841%||3.864%||-0.06%|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||3.146%||3.184%||-0.05%|
|Conventional 20 year fixed||3.559%||3.6%||-0.12%|
|Conventional 10 year fixed||3.102%||3.171%||-0.02%|
|30 year fixed FHA||3.967%||4.746%||-0.02%|
|15 year fixed FHA||3.183%||3.796%||+0.01%|
|5/1 ARM FHA||4.25%||4.256%||+0.2%|
|30 year fixed VA||4.008%||4.214%||-0.04%|
|15 year fixed VA||3.345%||3.686%||-0.04%|
|5/1 ARM VA||3.824%||3.24%||-0.11%|
|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?
Locking your mortgage rate still seems to me to be the smart move. Yes, there’s always a chance of significant and sustained falls. But the trigger for those would have to be cataclysmic.
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 yesterday, were:
- The yield on 10-year Treasury notes inched lower to 1.80% from 1.81%. (Good for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
- Major stock indexes were mostly lower. (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 nudged up to $88.46 from $88.12 a barrel. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
- Gold prices fell to $1,785 from $1,809 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 — decreased to 32 from 37 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 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 are likely to be unchanged or barely changed. 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’s going to happen to mortgage rates in coming hours, days, weeks or months.
Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?
We had some good economic news yesterday morning. US gross domestic product growth during the fourth quarter of 2021 was better than expected. Indeed, the last time we saw such rapid growth, Ronald Reagan was in the Oval Office. And new unemployment claims moderated last week, in spite of Omicron. The economy’s still looking good.
So why did mortgage rates fall a bit yesterday? Well, this morning’s Wall Street Journal (paywall) gives a clue. Markets are still trying to get their heads around the Federal Reserve’s announcements on Wednesday. And that’s especially difficult because Fed Chair Jerome Powell found himself unable to give the usual “forward guidance.”
Markets have grown used to the Fed giving them a good idea of its planned way forward. But Mr. Powell was noticeably vague on Wednesday. Indeed, in his news conference, he spelled out the situation:
It isn’t possible to sit here today and tell you with any confidence what the precise path will be. Making appropriate monetary policy in this environment requires humility, recognizing that the economy evolves in unexpected ways. We’ll need to be nimble so that we can respond to the full range of plausible outcomes.
FRB — Transcript of Chair Powell’s Press Conference, Jan. 26, 2022
Markets hate uncertainty. And the Fed is refusing to say how many times it will hike rates this year or by how much. It could be anything between four and seven times in 2022.
We don’t even know for sure when it will start to reduce the assets on its balance sheet, beyond that it could be this year. (For why that could be very important for mortgage rates, read yesterday’s edition of this daily rates report.)
Greg Ip summed up markets’ predicament in the Journal:
It’s been a long time since markets had to grapple with a Fed behind the curve and unwilling to commit to an interest-rate path. It’s a recipe for unpleasant surprises, more market volatility and a risk premium in the form of higher bond yields or lower stock-market valuations.
Wall Street Journal, Prepare for an Unsettling Monetary Tightening Cycle, Jan. 27, 2022
Note the “higher bond yields” bit. Mortgage rates are largely determined by a type of bond. And higher yields mean higher rates.
No doubt, markets will eventually settle down to a new normal. But, in the meantime, we may be in for considerable and unpredictable volatility in mortgage rates. So strap in.
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, 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, since last September, the rises have grown more pronounced, though not consistently so.
Freddie’s Jan. 27 report puts that weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 3.55% (with 0.7 fees and points), barely changed from the previous week’s 3.56%. But that Thursday report won’t include the previous day’s appreciable rise. And mortgage rates actually rose over the Thursday-to-Thursday week.
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 Jan. 19 and Freddie’s and the MBA’s on Jan. 21.
Personally, I was surprised that Fannie Mae only slightly increased its rate forecasts in January. It believes that rates for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages will average 3.2% over the current quarter. But, on the day its figures were published, we reported those for conventional loans were already up to 3.87%.
Do Fannie’s economists expect those rates to plummet later this month or in February or March and remain lower in the following quarters? If so, they know something that I don’t. And that their peers in Freddie and the MBA’s teams don’t, either, though I’m less optimistic than any of them.
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.