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Mortgage And Refinance Rates, April 4

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates rose appreciably last Friday. That was a bad ending to what had been a very rate-friendly week until then.

Early movements in key markets suggest mortgage rates today might fall. But those markets are too volatile to be sure that prediction will come true.

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 4.867% 4.89% -0.01%
Conventional 15 year fixed 4.01% 4.042% -0.12%
Conventional 20 year fixed 4.909% 4.945% +0.08%
Conventional 10 year fixed 4.017% 4.091% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA 4.995% 5.802% -0.02%
15 year fixed FHA 4.387% 4.95% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 4.701% 4.915% Unchanged
15 year fixed VA 4.464% 4.805% Unchanged
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.

We won’t know for a while whether last week’s falls in mortgage rates were just a blip in a larger, upward trend. Or whether they were the start of something new. But my money’s on the former. And I’m expecting more rises, though, with luck, fewer sharp ones.

But if one clear fact has emerged recently, it’s that markets are volatile and unpredictable. So I may be wrong. But, if I were you, I wouldn’t bet my next mortgage rate on that.

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 last Friday, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes fell to 2.42% from 2.45%. (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 rose to $103.39 from $100.06 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
  • Gold prices decreased to $1,932 from $1,935 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 50 from 51 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 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 fall. 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?

After months of sharply rising mortgage rates, it was great to see three days of falls and a holding steady last week. Yes, that run ended last Friday with an appreciable rise. But, overall, those rates fell over those seven days. And such crumbs of comfort are rare.

Recent record rises in mortgage rates have been driven by fear of the Federal Reserve’s plans to curb inflation, which is currently running at a 40-year high. Markets have been pricing in the likely economic effects of those measures for much of this year. And that explains why mortgage rates have been rising so quickly over the last couple of months.

But now markets are wondering whether they’ve gone far enough to anticipate the Fed’s actions. Russia’s war in Ukraine continues to drive inflation higher. And last Friday’s good employment figures suggest the economic recovery is giving the central bank plenty of room to implement even more extreme measures.

Daly update

Fears that’s the case may be heightened by an interview in this morning’s Financial Times. In it, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly told the newspaper she was up for a half-point (50 basis point) interest rate hike after the Fed’s next monetary policy meeting, on May 4. Until recently, it has looked likely that the near-certain hike that day would be half as sharp. Bloomberg quoted her remarks:

The case for 50 [basis points], barring any negative surprise between now and the next meeting, has grown. I’m more confident that taking these early adjustments would be appropriate.

Ms. Daley is the latest in a line of top Fed officials to suggest the Fed might be more aggressive in countering inflation than many had expected.

And that piles more upward pressure on mortgage rates as markets scramble to stay ahead of the Fed’s increasingly hawkish plans.

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. 31 report puts that weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 4.67% (with 0.8 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 4.42%. That most recent figure won’t have included most of this week’s falls.

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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