Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates rose moderately yesterday. Markets were worried that today’s employment figures would be better (worse for those rates) than they’d previously expected.
But there’s better news this morning following a mixed jobs report. Because mortgage rates today look likely to fall. However, there’s always a chance of that changing later in the day as markets fully digest the new data.
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed||6.684%||6.72%||+0.04%|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||5.858%||5.909%||+0.03%|
|Conventional 20 year fixed||6.536%||6.591%||+0.18%|
|Conventional 10 year fixed||6.133%||6.252%||+0.01%|
|30 year fixed FHA||6.467%||7.217%||+0.13%|
|15 year fixed FHA||6.015%||6.515%||+0.01%|
|30 year fixed VA||6.093%||6.325%||+0.03%|
|15 year fixed VA||6.375%||6.736%||+0.13%|
|Conventional 5 year ARM||7.247%||7.208%||+0.39%|
|5/1 ARM FHA||7.25%||7.48%||+0.4%|
|5/1 ARM VA||7.25%||7.48%||+0.4%|
|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.
I’m still not convinced that mortgage rates will stay as low as they currently are for long. They’ve been rising recently, but I fear they have further to go in the coming weeks and months.
So, my personal rate lock recommendations for now 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 fell to 3.71% from 3.77%. (Good for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates typically tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
- Major stock indexes were mostly higher but unstable soon after opening. (Sometimes bad for mortgage rates.) When investors buy shares, they’re often selling bonds, which pushes those prices down and increases yields and mortgage rates. The opposite may happen when indexes are lower. But this is an imperfect relationship
- Oil prices climbed to $74.52 from $72.74 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a prominent role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
- Gold prices increased to $1,849 from $1,841 an ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) It is generally better for rates when gold rises and worse when gold falls. Gold tends to rise when investors worry about the economy.
- CNN Business Fear & Greed index — edged up to 44 from 41 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 often 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 look likely to fall. However, be aware that “intraday swings” (when rates change speed or 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 broader 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 the coming hours, days, weeks or months.
Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?
Today’s jobs report
Yesterday, I laid out analysts’ expectations for this morning’s employment situation report. And I explained that those forecasts are often more important than the month-to-month changes in actual figures. That’s because investors often trade ahead of the releases of reports based on those forecasts. So, the differences between actuals and forecasts are critical.
Let’s look at this morning’s actual numbers for December alongside the analysts’ consensus forecasts according to MarketWatch and November’s figures:
|Statistic||Dec. actual||Analysts’ forecast||Nov. actual|
|New jobs created||223,000||200,000||263,000|
|Ave. hourly earnings||0.3%||+0.4%||+0.6%|
You can see that the picture is complicated. The headline number of new jobs (aka nonfarm payrolls) was noticeably higher than the analysts’ consensus forecast, but it was considerably lower than in November. The unemployment rate was down. And average hourly earnings rose less quickly than both what was expected and the previous month’s level. That last one may be the most important of all to investors because higher wages feed inflation.
Markets reacted to the mixed news chaotically, with important bond market indicators rising and falling every few seconds. But, by 9:30 a.m. (ET), it looked as if the optimistic interpretation was winning and mortgage rates were falling.
Just don’t rely on that necessarily lasting. Sometimes, it takes markets hours or even days to fully digest such important data. They may well continue to fall. But it would be no surprise if they were to change direction. Still, things were looking encouraging an hour after the data were published.
What this means for mortgage rates
Markets want to return to a time of cheap money (low rates) as soon as possible. And today’s news — that they may not have longer to wait than they hoped — will likely please them, pushing mortgage rates downward.
There may be more grounds for hope next Thursday (Jan. 12). That’s when a blockbuster inflation report (the consumer price index, aka the CPI) is due to be published. If that shows that inflation is still falling, mortgage rates could drop further then.
For more background, including my hopes and fears for mortgage rates in 2023, please read the latest weekend edition of this report.
Recent trends — updated today
According to Freddie Mac’s archives, the weekly all-time low for mortgage rates was set on Jan. 7, 2021, when it stood at 2.65% for conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages.
Freddie’s Jan. 5 report put that same weekly average at 6.48%, up from the previous week’s 6.42%.
In November, Freddie stopped including discount points in its forecasts. It has also moved later in the day the time at which it publishes its Thursday reports. And, from now on, we’ll be updating this section on Fridays.
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 rate forecasts for the current quarter (Q4/22) and the first three quarters of next year (Q1/23, Q2/23 and Q3/24).
The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s and the MBA’s forecasts appeared on Dec. 19 and Freddie’s on Oct. 21. Freddie now publishes its forecasts quarterly and its figures can quickly become stale.
Of course, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts might be even more speculative than usual. And their past record for accuracy hasn’t been wildly impressive.
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.