Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates edged a little lower again last Friday. But they rose a bit over the whole of that week. And they remain close to their two-year high. Just remember: The last two years have seen the lowest mortgage rates ever and today’s are still exceptionally low compared to normal times.
Markets this morning were relatively calm after last week’s volatility. Heaven knows how long that will last. But, if that calm survives the coming hours, mortgage rates today might edge higher.
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed||3.799%||3.823%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||3.14%||3.178%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 20 year fixed||3.452%||3.487%||-0.01%|
|Conventional 10 year fixed||3.066%||3.134%||Unchanged|
|30 year fixed FHA||3.899%||4.678%||Unchanged|
|15 year fixed FHA||3.155%||3.767%||Unchanged|
|5/1 ARM FHA||4.25%||4.318%||+0.06%|
|30 year fixed VA||3.954%||4.16%||+0.02%|
|15 year fixed VA||3.36%||3.703%||+0.04%|
|5/1 ARM VA||3.761%||3.284%||+0.07%|
|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?
I still think the upward pressures on mortgage rates are irresistible. And, overall, I’m expecting those rates to gently rise over the next few months and probably for longer. But there are bound to be periods of falls within that trend.
Still, 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 last Friday, were:
- The yield on 10-year Treasury notes held steady at 1.80%. (Neutral for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
- Major stock indexes were mixed. (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 nudged down to $87.19 from $88.46 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
- Gold prices edged up to $1,800 from $1,785 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 — increased to 35 from 32 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 modestly. 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?
Mortgage rate movements are still all about the Federal Reserve. Well, the Fed and inflation. Because the Fed’s being forced to act by too-high inflation.
Last Wednesday, the Fed revealed more about its plans to counter inflation. And they looked especially bad for low mortgage rates for two reasons:
- It’s going to hike its own rates several times in 2022
- It’s going to start to sell some of its $2.66 trillion stock of mortgage-backed securities (MBSs) later this year, perhaps as soon as June
Both of those are likely to push mortgage rates higher. Indeed, the sale of MBSs (a type of bond that largely determines mortgage rates) is the mirror opposite of the Fed’s now-ending, two-year program. That saw it drive mortgage rates to new lows by buying MBSs. You don’t need a Nobel Prize in economics to imagine the impact selling them will have.
Of course, the future’s never certain. And some huge catastrophe could come along that strangles the economic recovery, kills inflation and forces the Fed to do a U-turn. But let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
In the meantime, I’m expecting plenty of ups and downs, especially while the recent market volatility lasts. But I’d be surprised if mortgage rates’ overall direction of travel weren’t upward.
For a more detailed look at what’s happening to mortgage rates, read the latest weekend edition of this 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 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, 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.
Mortgage And Refinance Rates Today, Jan. 31| Rates rising is written by Peter Warden for themortgagereports.com