July 30, 2021

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Mortgage and refinance rates today, July 19, 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 

Average mortgage rates fell by a worthwhile amount on Friday. That was a surprise. Because market activity first thing that morning suggested a modest rise.

But this morning’s market activity is much more rate-friendly. And mortgage rates today look likely to fall, perhaps sharply. Of course, they could switch direction as they did last Friday. But that’s appearing unlikely.

Find and lock a low rate (Jul 19th, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 2.807% 2.807% Unchanged
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.125% 2.125% Unchanged
Conventional 20 year fixed 2.49% 2.49% -0.13%
Conventional 10 year fixed 1.944% 1.964% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA 2.563% 3.214% -0.12%
15 year fixed FHA 2.477% 3.077% +0.15%
5/1 ARM FHA 2.5% 3.213% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 2.25% 2.421% Unchanged
15 year fixed VA 2.25% 2.571% Unchanged
5/1 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 (Jul 19th, 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?

No, you probably shouldn’t lock your mortgage rate today. Because those rates fell last week and show signs of continuing lower.

However, they should be rising according to the rules of how markets normally work. And so future movements are highly unpredictable. And those who forecast mortgage rates for a living are nearly unanimous in predicting higher ones soon.

So, although they must be interpreted within that context, my personal rate lock recommendations must 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

However, 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 

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 last Friday, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes tumbled to 1.21% from 1.32%. (Great 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 sharply lower shortly after 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 may happen when indexes are lower
  • Oil prices fell to $68.72 from $71.91 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity. 
  • Gold prices nudged down to $1,810 from $1,826 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 indexplunged to 19 from 30 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, so far mortgage rates today look likely to fall, possibly sharply. But be aware that “intraday swings” (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

Find and lock a low rate (Jul 19th, 2021)

Important notes on today’s mortgage rates

Here are some things you need to know:

  1. 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
  2. Only “top-tier” borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you’ll see advertised
  3. 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
  4. When daily rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
  5. 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

In Saturday’s weekend edition, I quoted an article published last Friday by CNBC:

The bond market is not following the script many had expected this summer, which would have seen interest rates rising on the back of a booming economy. Instead, yields on longer-dated Treasurys are falling, and that can be a warning on the economy.

— CNBC, “The mystifying bond market behavior could last all summer,” July 16, 2021

Longer-dated Treasury yields are important because they include 10-year notes. And mortgage rates often shadow those closely.

No playbook

We’ve been seeing markets shrugging off economic data (good and bad) for months. And, clearly, investors have, for now, moved on from the standard playbook.

In a way, it’s easy to see why. We haven’t had a pandemic like this for more than a century. And we’re all in unknown territory. Worse, conflicting good and bad news are making judgment calls hard.

For example, the weekend saw “OPEC+,” which is the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, announce it would increase the production of oil, taking pressure off oil prices. And US dollar futures (and the dollar itself) are rising. Both could help moderate domestic inflation.

But stock markets in Australasia, Asia and Europe were sharply lower overnight, as were US stock futures.

Despondency

This is likely in response to increased fears about COVID-19 globally. Indeed, this morning’s Wall Street Journal reported: “U.S. stock futures, yields on government bonds and oil prices all slid on anxiety that the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant and rising inflation will hold back the global economy.”

The highly infectious Delta variant (originally seen in India) is raging in many nations. And the Beta variant, which was first identified in South Africa, and which may be more resistant to vaccines, remains persistent in some places though less widespread.

Meanwhile, the UK government pushed ahead today with “Freedom Day,” which removes virtually all pandemic-related legal restrictions on residents of England, in spite of soaring infection rates. True, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (who, ironically, is self-isolating since yesterday, having been exposed to the coronavirus) urges caution. But many are ignoring that. And some scientists fear this experiment could create new COVID-19 variants.

And yet …

Such concerns may be behind the somber mood on Wall Street and in other financial centers. And that might be good for mortgage rates, at least in the short term.

But most recent economic data have suggested that the pandemic’s effects in recent months have had only a limited impact on economies. If that changes, lower mortgage rates could be here to stay. But, if the present recovery holds up in the US, all that pessimism might evaporate. And those rates could rise.

Mortgage rates and inflation: Why are rates going up?

Recently

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 then the trend reversed and rates rose.

However, those rises were mostly replaced by falls in April and since, though only small ones. Freddie’s July 15 report puts that weekly average at 2.88% (with 0.7 fees and points), down from the previous week’s 2.90%.

Expert mortgage rate forecasts — Updated today

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 (Q3/21 and Q4/21) and the first two quarters of 2022 (Q1/22 and Q2/22).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s were updated on July 19, Freddie’s on July 15 and the MBA’s on June 18.

Forecaster Q3/21 Q4/21 Q1/22 Q2/22
Fannie Mae 3.0% 3.1%  3.2% 3.2%
Freddie Mac 3.3% 3.4%  3.5% 3.6%
MBA 3.2% 3.5%  3.7% 3.9%

However, given so many unknowables, the current crop of forecasts might be even more speculative than usual.

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 (Jul 19th, 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.

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