Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates edged lower again yesterday. They’ve risen appreciably over the last month. But they’ve fallen on six of the last nine working days.
This morning’s much better-than-expected March employment figures might normally kick start markets. But most are closed today for Good Friday. However, bond markets are open until noon (ET). And they’re the ones most closely associated with mortgage rates.
Unfortunately, it’s looking as if they’re likely to respond positively to those job numbers. And that means mortgage rates might rise modestly today or perhaps hold steady.
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed||3.24%||3.245%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||2.5%||2.619%||+0.03%|
|Conventional 20 year fixed||2.969%||3.061%||+0.03%|
|Conventional 10 year fixed||2.009%||2.242%||+0.01%|
|30 year fixed FHA||2.976%||3.639%||+0.01%|
|15 year fixed FHA||2.741%||3.328%||+0.01%|
|5 year ARM FHA||2.636%||3.252%||-0.01%|
|30 year fixed VA||2.625%||2.8%||Unchanged|
|15 year fixed VA||2.375%||2.697%||Unchanged|
|5 year ARM VA||2.5%||2.379%||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.|
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?
Although there are a few small clouds in the sky, the weather still looks set fair for an economic recovery and boom. And that almost inevitably means higher mortgage rates for some time to come.
So my personal rate lock recommendations 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
But I don’t claim perfect foresight. And your personal analysis could turn out to be as good as mine — or better. So you might choose to be guided by your instincts and your personal tolerance for risk.
Market data affecting today’s mortgage rates
Most markets are closed today. So here’s a snapshot of the state of play this morning at about 9:50 a.m. (ET) only for the bond market that deals in 10-year US Treasury bonds. The data, compared with roughly the same time yesterday, were:
- The yield on 10-year Treasurys edged up to 1.72% from 1.70% (Bad for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields, though less so recently
*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, so far mortgage rates today look likely to edge upward or perhaps hold steady. Just be aware that intraday swings (when rates change 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 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. 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
The monthly official employment situation report is arguably the most important of all economic reports. And this morning’s, which covered March, was much better than expected.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 916,000 that month and the unemployment rate fell to 6%. Analysts polled by Dow Jones had estimated an increase in those nonfarm payrolls of 675,000. That would have been impressive enough. But the higher number suggests the economic recovery is well underway.
And, if such numbers continue to hold up, higher mortgage rates ahead are very likely. So will they hold up?
Probably. But COVID-19 infection rates are now rising in many places, with Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania among the hardest-hit states. If things get much worse before the vaccination program can head off further rises, we might see the recovery delayed. And that might create a lull in rises in mortgage rates.
On balance, I’m still expecting the recovery to turn up more or less on time. But there is a chance of it being delayed for long enough for us to see a plateau or even dip in the mortgage rates graph.
For more background on my wider thinking, read our latest weekend edition, which is published every Saturday soon after 10 a.m. (ET).
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. But rates then rose. And Freddie’s Apr. 1 report puts that weekly average at 3.18% (with 0.7 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 3.17%.
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 the remaining quarters of 2021 (Q2/21, Q3/21, Q4/21) and the first quarter of 2022 (Q1/22).
The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s were updated on March 17 and the MBA’s on March 22. But Freddie now publishes forecasts quarterly. Its figures are from Jan. 10 and are looking distinctly stale:
However, given so many unknowables, the current crop of forecasts might 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.
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.