September 28, 2021

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Mortgage and refinance rates today, February 12, 2021

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Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates nudged higher yesterday, neatly canceling out Wednesday’s fall. So they remain within their ultralow range.

So far this morning, it’s looking as if mortgage rates might rise moderately today. A US Treasury auction of 30-year bonds yesterday created less demand than expected and that’s putting upward pressure on yields.

Find and lock a low rate (Feb 12th, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 2.8% 2.8% +0.05%
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.362% 2.362% Unchanged
Conventional 5 year ARM 3% 2.743% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA 2.495% 3.473% +0.07%
15 year fixed FHA 2.438% 3.38% +0.19%
5 year ARM FHA 2.5% 3.207% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 2.362% 2.535% Unchanged
15 year fixed VA 2.125% 2.445% Unchanged
5 year ARM VA 2.5% 2.386% 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.

Find and lock a low rate (Feb 12th, 2021)


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?

For now, mortgage rates seem to be moving by only small amounts. And whether they go up or down depends on economic news.

The biggest threat facing those deciding when to lock their rate is some massively important story that changes everything. For example, a new, mutant strain of COVID-19 that resists vaccines might send them tumbling. Or definitive signs of a recovery could push them higher.

But it’s more likely that improving economic data as vaccines continue to rollout will push them gently upward over time.

Given that current movements are small and the rewards for floating look likely to be modest, my personal rate lock recommendations are:

  • LOCK if closing in 7 days
  • LOCK if closing in 15 days
  • LOCK if closing in 30 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 45 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 60 days

But, with so much uncertainty at the moment, your instincts could easily turn out to be as good as mine — or better. So be guided by your gut and your personal tolerance for risk.

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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 about the same time yesterday morning, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasurys rose to 1.20% from 1.15%. (Bad 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 lower on opening. (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 fell to $58.41 from $58.67 a barrel. (Neutral for mortgage rates* because energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.) 
  • Gold prices moved down to $1,820 from $1,843 an ounce. (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 — Inched up to 67 from 66 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. The Fed is now a huge player and some days can overwhelm investor sentiment.

So use markets only as a rough guide. Because they have to be exceptionally strong (rates are likely to rise) or weak (they could fall) to rely on them. But, with that caveat, so far mortgage rates today look likely to rise.

Find and lock a low rate (Feb 12th, 2021)

Important notes on today’s mortgage rates

Here are some things you need to know:

  1. The Fed’s ongoing interventions in the mortgage market (way over $1 trillion) should put continuing downward pressure on these rates. But it can’t work miracles all the time. And read “For once, the Fed DOES affect mortgage rates. Here’s why” if you want to understand this aspect of what’s happening
  2. 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
  3. Only “top-tier” borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you’ll see advertised
  4. 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
  5. When rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
  6. Refinance rates are typically close to those for purchases. But some types of refinances are higher following a regulatory change

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.

Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?

Today and soon

I’m expecting mortgage rates to increase moderately today. But, as always, that could change as the day progresses.

Yesterday’s weekly rate report from Freddie Mac revealed that mortgage rates haven’t budged over the last two weeks. Of course, they’ve moved nearly every day. But each change has varied between small and tiny. And, added together, they’ve canceled each other out.

Right now, I can’t see any reason to think this is going to change soon. Each movement may grow a little bigger but it would take some seriously big news to push them up or down quickly and sharply.

It’s because the likely gains from floating are limited that I suggest locking. Yes, you might miss out on the benefits of a sudden fall. But those look unlikely. And you also miss out on the risks of a sudden rise, although they appear similarly improbable.

For more background on my wider thinking, read our latest weekend edition, which is published every Saturday soon after 10 a.m. (ET).

Recently

Over the last several months, the overall trend for mortgage rates has clearly been downward. And a new, weekly all-time low was set on 16 occasions last year, according to Freddie Mac.

The most recent such weekly record occurred on Jan. 7, when it stood at 2.65% for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. But rates then rose, though only modestly. And in Freddie’s Feb. 11 report that weekly average was 2.73% — the same as the previous week and the one before that.

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 rates forecasts for each quarter of 2021 (Q1/21, Q2/21, Q3/21 and Q4/21).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. And they were all published between Jan. 14 and 20:

Forecaster Q1/21 Q2/21 Q3/21 Q4/21
Fannie Mae 2.7% 2.7% 2.8% 2.8%
Freddie Mac 2.9% 2.9% 3.0% 3.0%
MBA 2.9% 3.1% 3.3% 3.4%

But, given so many unknowables, the current crop of forecasts may be even more speculative than usual. And there’s certainly a widening spread as the year progresses.

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.

Verify your new rate (Feb 12th, 2021)

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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.

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