January 27, 2022

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Mortgage and refinance rates today, Jan. 3, 2022

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Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates barely moved last Friday and yours was probably unchanged.

So far this morning, it’s looking as if mortgage rates today might rise. But things could change later.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Jan 3rd, 2022)

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 3.38% 3.401% Unchanged
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.546% 2.582% Unchanged
Conventional 20 year fixed 3.125% 3.159% Unchanged
Conventional 10 year fixed 2.688% 2.756% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA 3.231% 3.945% Unchanged
15 year fixed FHA 2.62% 3.267% Unchanged
5/1 ARM FHA 2.237% 3.14% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 3.029% 3.22% +0.02%
15 year fixed VA 2.908% 3.256% Unchanged
5/1 ARM VA 2.5% 2.533% 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.

Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

After an initial sharp reaction to the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID–19, markets pretty much shrugged off the economic risks it posed. Yet they had zero grounds for doing so beyond blind optimism.

But it’s beginning to look as if they might have been right. Because most of the recent news from scientists suggests the Omicron wave might be horrible for fairly few and relatively brief for all: a matter of weeks. And it may leave populations and economies stronger than they were before it began. More on that below.

If that turns out to be the case, we might well see mortgage rates rising again in a consistent way.

That’s why I changed my personal rate lock recommendations last Friday. And they’re now:

  • 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

>Related: 7 Tips to get the best refinance rate

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 climbed to 1.59% from 1.51%. (Bad for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were higher soon after opening. (Bad 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. But this is an imperfect relationship
  • Oil prices fell to $75.38 from $76.12 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
  • Gold prices dropped back to $1,808 from $1,825 ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) In general, it is 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 – rose to 68 from 64 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, mortgage rates today are likely to rise. However, be aware that “intraday swings” (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Jan 3rd, 2022)

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.

A lot is going on at the moment. 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?

We could be pretty sure right from the start that Omicron was much more transmissible than earlier variants of COVID–19. And infection rates have indeed been frighteningly high.

But there are signs that may be a good thing. As a Wall Street Journal headline observed last night, “Omicron variant may end up saving lives.” How come? Well, recent scientific reports suggest that, compared with earlier variants, it:

  • Causes less lung damage in most patients
  • Has typically milder symptoms and reduces the likelihood of death and hospitalization for each infected patient
  • Causes shorter waves of infections – South Africa is already seeing significant falls in infection rates, just six or seven weeks after its first cases. And the UK, another early sufferer, is seeing cases beginning to increase more slowly
  • Provides a good level of future protection for those who become infected against all existing forms of COVID–19
  • May hasten herd immunity

It’s tempting to embrace the scenario that Omicron is COVID–19’s swan song: That everything will be over and back to normal by the spring. And that’s perfectly possible. Because pandemics usually peter out in that way. Spanish flu’s, for example, lasted roughly 26 months. Its virus still exists as endemic – as will COVID–19 variants. But it doesn’t kill many people.

However, not all public health researchers are ready to accept that scenario. For example, salon’s website yesterday quoted distinguished ones who remain worried that more COVID–19 variants – or even whole new Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) strains – might yet emerge. And they could cause more deaths and serious illnesses than anything we’ve seen so far.

What this might mean for mortgage rates

But, personally, I’m greeting the good news about Omicron with cautious optimism. And I suspect markets will, too.

If I’m right, mortgage rates may rise more consistently. Because the forces that were pushing them higher before Omicron remain potent: mostly high inflation and the Federal Reserve’s dismantling of its pandemic–era stimulus programs. But add to those the continuing strong economic recovery.

However, even if Omicron does turn out to be a blessing in disguise, we still face at least several weeks of serious economic disruption and some personal tragedies. So markets may be in for a rocky ride.

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.

Since then, the picture has been mixed with extended periods of rises and falls. Unfortunately, since September, the rises have grown more pronounced, though not consistently so.

Freddie’s Dec. 30 report puts that weekly average for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages at 3.11% (with 0.7 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 3.05%.

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, current quarter of 2021 (Q4/21) and the first three quarters of 2022 (Q1/22, Q2/22 and Q3/22).

The numbers in the table below are for 30–year, fixed–rate mortgages. Fannie’s were published on Dec. 20 and the MBA’s on Dec. 21.

Freddie’s were released on Oct. 15. It now updates its forecasts only quarterly. So we may not get another from it until January. And its figures are already looking stale.

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

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

Find your lowest rate today

You should comparison shop 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.”

Show me today’s rates (Jan 3rd, 2022)

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.

The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.

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