Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates moved higher again yesterday. But only a bit higher. So far, March has been turning out as badly for those rates as most of February was. And, in that context, you could see such a small rise as a win.
Unfortunately, key markets this morning are signaling that mortgage rates today might rise.
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed||4.174%||4.196%||+0.02%|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||3.54%||3.576%||+0.21%|
|Conventional 20 year fixed||3.977%||4.011%||+0.02%|
|Conventional 10 year fixed||3.505%||3.572%||+0.2%|
|30 year fixed FHA||4.282%||5.07%||-0.03%|
|15 year fixed FHA||3.737%||4.396%||+0.02%|
|30 year fixed VA||4.306%||4.515%||-0.01%|
|15 year fixed VA||3.457%||3.79%||+0.08%|
|5/1 ARM VA||4.75%||3.893%||+0.05%|
|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.
Those recommendations have been stuck on “lock” for many months, with only occasional and brief tweaks. That’s because, overall, rates have been climbing for a similar period. And I expect them to continue to do so for some time to come. However, I’m hoping the pace of increases might moderate fairly soon.
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 climbed to 1.98% from 1.92%. (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 $112.46 from $117.71 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
- Gold prices decreased to $2,008 from $1,990 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 – inched lower to 15 from 16 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 might move higher. 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 coming hours, days, weeks or months.
Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?
Finally, many commodity prices caught a break yesterday. And stock markets recovered some ground. However, these improvements are generally small compared with the harm done over the last couple of weeks.
Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, some economists were arguing that the inflation rate would begin to reduce naturally later this year. But that war has created spikes in the prices of oil, natural gas and several other key commodities. And how soon those begin to normalize will depend on how long Moscow maintains its offensive and whether it chooses to occupy Ukraine, assuming it can.
This morning’s consumer price index confirmed that inflation was strong before the invasion. It was higher than most analysts had expected for February. And those numbers will reflect hardly any of the war’s impacts.
The Fed and mortgage rates
So we can expect the Federal Reserve to act decisively to counter inflation. Here’s Comerica Bank’s take on those actions, published in an e–newsletter yesterday:
With CPI inflation likely to hold around 8% in year–over–year terms for the next few months and the unemployment rate under 4%, the Federal Reserve is likely to raise the federal funds target rate a quarter percentage point at its next decision March 16, and to raise rates another full percentage point by the end of the year. The Fed ended net new purchases of government–backed bonds (“quantitative easing”) in March, and will likely begin reducing the size of its balance sheet (“quantitative tightening”) this fall. If the Russia–Ukraine crisis cools off later this year and oil and food prices come back down, inflation will likely slow to a more normal pace by late 2023.
Comerica Bank Chief Economist Bill Adams, March 9, 2022
For us, that scenario is bad news. Both Fed rate hikes and especially quantitative tightening are likely to exert upward pressure on mortgage rates.
Where next for mortgage rates?
However, things may not be quite as bad as they sound. Markets are expecting these Fed counter–inflationary measures, which have been widely signaled for months.
So much of the damage to mortgage rates has already been done, as markets have already priced in some of the measures’ effects. That’s why I’m hopeful that we could be in for a long period when those rates rise only slowly.
Indeed, some think we might even see some falls in coming months. But, personally, I suspect the war’s extra inflationary pressures now make that unlikely.
For a more detailed look at what’s happening to mortgage rates, read the latest weekend edition of this report.
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 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, though not consistently so.
Freddie’s March 10 report puts that weekly average for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages at 3.85% (with 0.8 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 3.76%. But that won’t have counted most of the sharp rises on that Tuesday and Wednesday.
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 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 Feb. 18 and the MBA’s on Feb. 25. But Freddie now publishes these forecasts every quarter, most recently on Jan. 21.
Note that those figures were issued before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 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.
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.