Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates fell modestly yesterday. But, so far, that looks like one of the routine ups and downs that are a feature of all markets, rather than the start of something significant.
In spite of warm inflation data this morning, mortgage rates today might hold steady or just inch either side of the neutral line. But that might change as investors and analysts digest those and other figures.
Find your lowest rate. Start here (Dec 15th, 2021)
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed||3.303%||3.325%||-0.01%|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||2.52%||2.554%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 20 year fixed||3.156%||3.194%||-0.01%|
|Conventional 10 year fixed||2.633%||2.696%||+0.02%|
|30 year fixed FHA||3.297%||4.063%||-0.03%|
|15 year fixed FHA||2.592%||3.238%||Unchanged|
|5/1 ARM FHA||2.288%||3.173%||-0.01%|
|30 year fixed VA||3.224%||3.421%||-0.02%|
|15 year fixed VA||2.86%||3.208%||-0.14%|
|5/1 ARM VA||2.5%||2.547%||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?
This is a very difficult time to be predicting mortgage rates. Because, as Freddie Mac’s chief economist observed yesterday:
Going forward, the path that rates take will be directly impacted by more information about the Omicron variant as it is revealed and the overall trajectory of the pandemic.
— Freddie Mac, “Mortgage Rates Show Little Movement,” Dec. 9, 2021
Obviously, neither I nor anyone else knows how the pandemic will go. So read my recommendations in that context. Your gut instinct may prove at least as good a guide as mine.
But my personal rate lock recommendations are:
- 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 edged down to 1.47% from 1.49%. (Good for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
- Major stock indexes were higher soon after opening. (Bad 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 inched lower to $71.65 from $71.66 a barrel. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
- Gold prices edged up to $1,781 from $1,779 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 – decreased to 36 from 38 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 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 look likely to be unchanged or barely changed. But be aware that “intraday swings” (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.
Find your lowest rate. Start here (Dec 15th, 2021)
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. And a recent regulatory change has narrowed a gap that previously existed
So a lot is 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.
Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?
The Omicron variant and the pandemic generally will almost certainly determine the overall direction of mortgage rates for some weeks or months to come.
However, this morning’s inflation figures may influence those rates more today. That’s because investors in fixed–yield bonds are highly sensitive to inflation. And those bonds include mortgage–backed securities, which are the type of bond that largely determines mortgage rates.
Obviously, the higher the inflation rate, the higher the yield investors want from their bonds.
This morning’s consumer price index (CPI) and core inflation data for November and CPI year–over–year change will all be studied closely by investors and analysts as today progresses.
But, soon after publication, Wall Street was barely reacting to the numbers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that CPI “rose 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis; rising 6.8 percent over the last 12 months, not seasonally adjusted.” And The Wall Street Journal said that was a 39–year high.
Figures for expected inflation over the next five years are also due out this morning, but too late for inclusion in our daily report.
For more background, read Saturday’s weekend edition of this daily 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 last year, according to Freddie Mac.
The most recent weekly record low occurred on Jan. 7, 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 September, the rises have grown more pronounced, though not consistently so.
Freddie’s Dec. 9 report puts that weekly average for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages at 3.10% (with 0.7 fees and points), slightly down from the previous week’s 3.11%.
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 remaining, current quarter of 2021 (Q4/21) and the first three quarters of 2022 (Q1/22, Q2/22 and Q3/22).
The numbers in the table below are for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages. Fannie’s were published on Nov. 18 and the MBA’s on Nov. 22.
Freddie’s were released on Oct. 15. It now updates its forecasts only quarterly. So we may not get another from it until January.
However, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts may be even more speculative than usual.
And none of these forecasters had any idea that Omicron might entirely change the models on which they’re based.
Find your lowest rate today
Some lenders have been spooked by the pandemic. And they’re restricting their offerings to just the most vanilla–flavored mortgages and refinances.
But others remain brave. And you can still probably find the cash–out refinance, investment mortgage or jumbo loan you want. You just have to shop around more widely.
But, of course, you should be comparison shopping 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.
Show me today’s rates (Dec 15th, 2021)
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.