October 17, 2021

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Mortgage and refinance rates today, Sept. 24, 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 rose significantly yesterday. It may have been a delayed reaction to the Federal Reserve’s events on Wednesday. But other factors might have contributed.

And the bad times may not be over yet. Because mortgage rates today look likely to rise again. But, with such volatility, nothing’s certain.

Find and lock a low rate (Sep 25th, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 3.113% 3.131% +0.1%
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.445% 2.473% +0.08%
Conventional 20 year fixed 3.019% 3.052% +0.18%
Conventional 10 year fixed 2.398% 2.448% +0.11%
30 year fixed FHA 3.109% 3.868% +0.1%
15 year fixed FHA 2.497% 3.141% +0.09%
5/1 ARM FHA 2.326% 3.033% +0.04%
30 year fixed VA 2.964% 3.156% +0.1%
15 year fixed VA 2.678% 3.027% +0.07%
5/1 ARM VA 2.474% 2.29% +0.01%
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 (Sep 25th, 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?

Wow! Yesterday was scary. Mortgage News Daily’s figures showed its average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage jumping to 3.10% from Wednesday’s close of 3.01%. They were at 2.94% just 10 days earlier.

What should you do if you’re still floating? Read “Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?” (below), which might help you get your head around what’s happening.

And note that 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

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 yesterday, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes climbed to 1.45% from 1.37%. (Bad for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were lower 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 increased to $73.35 from $72.59 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity. 
  • Gold prices fell to $1,742 from $1,753 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 indexedged up to 33 from 31 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. 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 rise. 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 (Sep 25th, 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. And a recent regulatory change has narrowed a gap that previously existed

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

Wow! Yesterday was a real shocker.

Such sharp one-day rises in mortgage rates are rare but far from unknown. But, after months when those rates have been all-but dormant, yesterday’s increase came like a kick to the solar plexus.

By the way, ignore the headlines that say that mortgage rates are rising only slowly. They’re based on Freddie Mac’s weekly figures, which came out yesterday. And, while those are great over the long term, they’re often out of date by the time they’re published.

What happened yesterday?

Yesterday afternoon, CNBC put that day’s rises in yields on 10-year Treasury notes down to a delayed reaction to the Federal Reserve’s announcement on Wednesday:

The bench mark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield made up some of its overnight losses on Thursday and climbed to a two-month high after the Federal Reserve said that it may soon curtail its asset purchase program.

Mortgage rates often shadow those particular yields, as they did yesterday. And, to join the dots between the Fed’s announcement and mortgage rates, read 2% Mortgage rates could disappear “soon,” per Fed meeting. That also explores another threat to low mortgage rates: the debt ceiling.

Other factors

Some suggest other factors that might have contributed to yesterday’s rise. For example, investors may be less worried about the COVID-19 pandemic as numbers of new reported cases fall.

In the 14 days leading up to Sept. 23, the number of new cases tumbled by 14% in America and 15% worldwide, according to The New York Times (paywall). And it’s starting to look as if the widely feared spike caused by kids returning to school isn’t going to materialize.

But if there’s one thing we know about COVID-19 it’s that it’s unpredictable. And, were the trends suddenly to reverse, that would likely sour investors sunny optimism and might even push mortgage rates lower again.

But that’s really the only glimmer of hope that I can offer to those still floating their rate. And, if you’re one of them, I doubt you’re the sort of psychopath who would cheerfully trade more human deaths for a lower mortgage rate.

Of course, it’s always possible that some other catastrophe — war, famine, civil unrest, natural disaster, stock market collapse … — could arise that pushes mortgage rates lower. But they’d be even more unwelcome — and, thankfully, less likely.

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 moderately.

However, in April and after, those rises were mostly replaced by falls, though typically small ones. Freddie’s Sept. 23 report puts that weekly average at 2.88% (with 0.7 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 2.86%. But that doesn’t reflect the sharp rise seen on the day of publication.

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 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 Sept. 20 and the MBA’s on Sept. 22. But Freddie’s were last refreshed on July 15 because it now publishes these figures only quarterly. And its forecast is looking seriously stale.

Forecaster Q3/21 Q4/21 Q1/22 Q2/22
Fannie Mae 2.9% 2.9%  3.0% 3.1%
Freddie Mac 3.3% 3.4%  3.5% 3.6%
MBA 2.8% 3.1%  3.4% 3.6%

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

All these forecasts expect higher mortgage rates soon or soon-ish. But the differences between the forecasters are stark. And it may be that Fannie isn’t building in the Federal Reserve’s tapering of its support for mortgage rates while Freddie and the MBA are. Or perhaps Fannie believes tapering will have little impact.

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 (Sep 25th, 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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