September 28, 2021

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Mortgage and refinance rates today, March 4, 2021

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, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc Blogs
, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc Blogs

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Depending on your lender, average mortgage rates inched higher yesterday after three days without a rise. Read on to discover what’s happening.

Judging from early markets, we might be in for another fairly quiet day. And mortgage rates might be unchanged or barely changed today. But with investors so jittery, a more appreciable movement remains possible.

Find and lock a low rate (Mar 4th, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 3.059% 3.062% +0.09%
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.493% 2.502% Unchanged
Conventional 20 year fixed 2.868% 2.875% +0.01%
Conventional 10 year fixed 2.452% 2.47% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA 2.875% 3.554% +0.12%
15 year fixed FHA 2.521% 3.103% +0.04%
5 year ARM FHA 2.5% 3.213% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 2.375% 2.547% +0.12%
15 year fixed VA 2.25% 2.571% Unchanged
5 year ARM VA 2.5% 2.392% 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 (Mar 4th, 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?

Yesterday’s mortgage rate rise was neither here nor there. Indeed, depending on your lender, you may not have seen one at all.

However, if the reasons behind that rise (see below) gain traction among investors, it could be the first of many. Of course, nothing’s certain and it might blow over.

But my personal rate lock recommendations stand:

  • 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

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 roughly the same time yesterday, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasurys inched down to 1.47% from 1.48%. (Good 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 again mixed on opening. (Neutral for mortgage rates.) When investors are buying shares they’re often selling bonds, which pushes bond prices down and increases yields and mortgage rates. The opposite happens when indexes are lower
  • Oil prices rose to $62.25 from $60.78 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.
  • Gold prices nudged higher to $1,712 from $1,710 an ounce. (Neutral 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 52 from 54 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. 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 (meaning rates are likely to rise) or weak (meaning they could fall) to be a reliable indicator.

But, with that caveat, so far mortgage rates today look likely to hold steady or move just a little. Just be aware that intraday swings (when rates change direction during the day) are common right now.

Find and lock a low rate (Mar 4th, 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 ultra-low 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

Yesterday’s rise in mortgage rates was widely attributed to investors being spooked by the prospect of inflation.

Those who hold fixed-rate assets — such as bonds from the US Treasury and mortgage-backed securities — dread inflation. Because they’re left getting low returns while, in the future, interest rates rise.

Right now, many are worried about a quick post-pandemic economic recovery combined with massive government borrowing for COVID-19 relief. They think those two together could cause the economy to overheat, which is likely to generate higher inflation rates.

This fear was the main driver behind February’s rises in mortgage rates. And, if it gains further traction among investors, it could easily cause more upward movement.

How likely is that? Your guess is as good as mine. But I would suggest caution. Overnight, Kyle Rodda of IG summed things up:

After steadying since the start of the week, it appears that we have returned to watching bond yields climb as the US 10-year Treasury yields rose to 1.48% levels into the Wednesday US session.

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 much of 2020, the overall trend for mortgage rates was clearly downward. New, weekly all-time lows were set on 16 occasions last year, according to Freddie Mac.

The most recent weekly record low occurred on January 7, 2021, when it stood at 2.65% for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages.

But rates then rose. Freddie’s March 4 report puts that weekly average at 3.02%, up from the previous week’s 2.97%.

Expert mortgage rate forecasts

Looking further ahead, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) each have 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. Fannie’s and the MBA’s were updated on Feb. 18 and 19 respectively. But Freddie now publishes forecasts quarterly and its figures are from mid-January:

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

However, 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 property 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 (Mar 4th, 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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