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Mortgage And Refinance Rates, March 30

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates moved moderately lower yesterday. It was a worthwhile gain, based mainly on optimism over Ukraine-Russia peace talks. But it represented less than one-third of last Friday’s rise.

At close to 10 a.m. (ET), markets were signaling that mortgage rates today might barely move. But we saw yesterday how quickly things can change. So take that prediction with a pinch of salt.

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 4.867% 4.892% -0.09%
Conventional 15 year fixed 4.115% 4.154% +0.05%
Conventional 20 year fixed 4.817% 4.855% -0.12%
Conventional 10 year fixed 4.014% 4.083% -0.02%
30 year fixed FHA 4.973% 5.778% -0.07%
15 year fixed FHA 4.371% 4.939% -0.05%
30 year fixed VA 4.677% 4.889% -0.06%
15 year fixed VA 4.16% 4.498% -0.09%
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.

It’s still possible that this week’s good news about mortgage rates means those rates have reached a ceiling, meaning they won’t go higher for a while but might fall a little. However, it’s too soon to decide whether that’s the case.

If I were you, I’d still lock soon because I expect rises to outweigh falls for some time to come. But I may well be wrong. And you might decide to wager on further falls in the near term. Just be aware that your odds aren’t great, and your stakes might be high.

So, with little prospect of significant and sustained falls anytime soon, 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 held steady at 2.41%. (Neutral for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were falling 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 rose to $108.23 from $99.51 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
  • Gold prices climbed to $1,936 from $1,899 an ounce. (Good 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 — rose to 55 from 52 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 hold steady. 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:

  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.

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?

Most commentators agree that much of yesterday’s fall in mortgage rates resulted from early progress in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, currently taking place in Istanbul, Turkey. Those, plus a less aggressive tone in Moscow, raised hopes of a settlement between the warring parties.

And that would be good for the global economy. The war has caused a spike in the prices of many commodities, most notably oil and gas, but also wheat and several others. Peace could see those normalize, which would help moderate the inflation rate.

And, as regular readers know, slower price rises might allow the Fed to back off some of its more extreme anti-inflationary plans. It’s those plans that are likely to push mortgage rates yet higher.

Markets try to look ahead, pricing in anticipated events before they occur. And that accounts for much of the volatility we see. Prices and yields move on hopes for — and fears of — the future. And hopes and fears are raised and dashed all the time.

Optimism or naiveté?

Let’s hope that the peace talks will be successful. But I fear they may not be. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is famously wily (or duplicitous, if you prefer), and his new, dovish mood may be tactical rather than sincere. Some suspect he’s regrouping rather than reconciling.

It would be great if we skeptics were proved wrong. Mainly, because it would be good for both Ukraine and Russia. But also because it might give mortgage rates a bit of a break.

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 Mar. 24 report puts that weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 4.42% (with 0.8 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 4.16%.

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 Mar. 17 and the MBA’s on Mar. 22. But Freddie now publishes these forecasts every quarter, most recently on Jan. 21. So its figures are already looking very stale.

Forecaster Q1/22 Q2/22 Q3/22 Q4/22
Fannie Mae 3.7% 3.8%  3.8% 3.9%
Freddie Mac 3.5% 3.6%  3.7% 3.7%
MBA 3.8% 4.2%  4.4% 4.5%

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.

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