Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates inched up yesterday by the smallest measurable amount. There’s a good chance your lender didn’t bother to change yours. And conventional loans today start at 2.875% (2.875% APR) for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage.
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 yr Fixed||2.875||2.875||Unchanged|
|Conventional 15 yr Fixed||2.625||2.625||Unchanged|
|Conventional 5 yr ARM||3.375||2.892||-0.01%|
|30 year fixed FHA||2.25||3.226||Unchanged|
|15 year fixed FHA||2.25||3.191||Unchanged|
|5 year ARM FHA||2.5||3.245||Unchanged|
|30 year fixed VA||2.25||2.421||Unchanged|
|15 year fixed VA||2.25||2.571||Unchanged|
|5 year ARM VA||2.5||2.426||Unchanged|
|Your rate might be different. Click here for a personalized rate quote. See our rate assumptions here.|
Last week, we slimmed down this daily article to make it easier for you to read. But we transferred much of the detail to a new stand-alone article:
COVID-19 mortgage updates: Mortgage lenders are changing rates and rules due to COVID-19. To see the latest on how coronavirus could impact your home loan, click here.
Should you lock a mortgage rate today?
Yesterday’s key meeting of the Federal Reserve’s policy committee had little effect on mortgage rates. Its statement and news conference told markets what they wanted — and expected — to hear about the organization’s future steps. It confirmed it would continue to buy mortgage bonds in bulk.
Tuesday’s big rise in mortgage rates was a result of the average being skewed. Only those wanting particular sorts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac refinances should have been affected much.
So we can return to our advice earlier in the week. Namely, that your mortgage rate is likely only to inch, edge or nudge up and down. But there’s always a danger of some exceptional and unexpected event arising that could suddenly push them sharply higher or lower.
As long as that calm situation continues, there’s little downside to floating or locking. So you can be guided by your personal tolerance for risk. My personal recommendations are:
- LOCK if closing in 7 days
- LOCK if closing in 15 days
- FLOAT if closing in 30 days
- FLOAT if closing in 45 days
- FLOAT if closing in 60 days
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Market data affecting today’s mortgage rates
Here’s the state of play this morning at about 9:50 a.m. (ET). The data, compared with about the same time yesterday morning, were:
- The yield on 10-year Treasurys held steady at 0.67%. (Neutral for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields, though less so recently
- Major stock indexes were sharply 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 happens when indexes are lower
- Oil prices nudged up to $39.85 from $39.21. (Bad for mortgage rates* because energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.)
- Gold prices fell to $1,944 an ounce from $1,976. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) In general, it’s 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 fell to 55 from 57 out of a possible 100 points. (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 a matter of cents on oil ones is a fraction of 1%. So we only count meaningful differences as good or bad for mortgage rates.
Once upon a time, 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. The Fed is now a huge player in the mortgage market and on some days can overwhelm investor sentiment.
So use markets only as a rough guide. They have to be exceptionally strong (rates are likely to rise) or weak (they could fall) to rely on them. Today they’re looking neutral for mortgage rates. This morning’s weekly claims for unemployment insurance were slightly better than expected. But housing starts disappointed. And the long-term economic outlook foreseen by the Fed continues to be grim.
Important notes on today’s mortgage rates
Here are some things you need to know:
- The Fed’s ongoing interventions in the mortgage market (at least $1 trillion; some say nearly $2 trillion) should put continuing downward pressure on these rates. But it can’t work miracles all the time. So expect short-term rises as well as falls. And read “For once, the Fed DOES affect mortgage rates. Here’s why” if you want to understand this aspect of what’s happening
- Typically, mortgage rates go up when the economy’s doing well and down when it’s in trouble. But there are exceptions
- 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 rate movements — though they all usually follow the wider trend over time
- When rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
- At times of high demand, lenders can push up rates as a way of managing their workflow. Neither markets nor the Fed can help when that happens
So there’s a lot going on here. And nobody can claim to know with certainty what’s going to happen to mortgage rates in coming hours, days, weeks or months. But check out what 10 experts think could happen between now and the end of this year:
Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?
Over the last few months, the overall trend for mortgage rates has clearly been downward. A new all-time low was set early in August and another looked possible a couple of weeks ago — before better-than-expected employment data snatched that possibility away. Still, a new one remains a real possibility.
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.
Expert mortgage rate forecasts
And here are their current rates forecasts for the last two quarters of 2020 (Q3/20 and Q4/20) and the first two of 2021 (Q1/21 and Q2/21).
Note that Fannie’s (published on Tuesday) and the MBA’s are updated monthly while Freddie’s are published quarterly So Freddie’s sometimes feel stale. The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages:
So expectations vary considerably. You pays yer money …
Find your lowest rate today
Everyone — from federal regulators to personal finance gurus — agrees that shopping around for your new mortgage or refinance is important. You could save thousands over just a few years by getting quotes from multiple lenders. And more, if you keep your mortgage for a long time or have a large loan.
But you’ve rarely had more to gain by shopping around than you do now. The mortgage market is currently very messy. And some lenders are offering appreciably lower rates than others. Worse, some are making it harder to get any mortgage at all if you want a cash-out refinance, a loan for an investment property, a jumbo loan or if your credit score is damaged.
So comparison shopping could get you the loan you want — and save you a bundle.
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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.
Published at Thu, 17 Sep 2020 11:30:45 +0000