January 18, 2022

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Mortgage and refinance rates today, Jan. 5, 2022

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Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates rose again yesterday. And they haven’t fallen since Dec. 27.

But it’s looking as if that might change. Because mortgage rates today look likely to fall modestly. But that’s far from certain in these volatile times, especially as the ADP private–sector employment report came in much better than expected earlier this morning.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Jan 5th, 2022)

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 3.49% 3.513% +0.04%
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.789% 2.825% +0.03%
Conventional 20 year fixed 3.231% 3.269% +0.04%
Conventional 10 year fixed 2.785% 2.852% +0.01%
30 year fixed FHA 3.525% 4.295% +0.01%
15 year fixed FHA 2.709% 3.357% +0.02%
5/1 ARM FHA 2.452% 3.291% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 3.239% 3.432% +0.01%
15 year fixed VA 3.005% 3.353% +0.01%
5/1 ARM VA 2.606% 2.644% +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.

Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

Don’t get too excited if mortgage rates do indeed fall today. Because I suspect that would be just one of the inevitable ups and downs that all markets have. And I’m still expecting rises overall.

Of course, nothing’s certain. Recent rises have almost certainly been down to better news about the likely effects of the Omicron variant of COVID–19. It seems unlikely we’ll suddenly get bad news about those. But it’s quite possible.

So, for now, 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

>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 yesterday, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes edged lower to 1.65% from 1.67%. (Good for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were mostly lower soon 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. But this is an imperfect relationship
  • Oil prices climbed to $78.15 from $76.90 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
  • Gold prices rose to $1,829 from $1,809 ounce. (Good 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 – fell to 66 from 72 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, mortgage rates today are likely to inch lower. 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 5th, 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?

Today

This afternoon, the Federal Reserve will issue the minutes of the last meeting of its monetary policy committee. And those are likely to reveal more of its thinking about its plans to wind down its pandemic–era stimulus programs.

Those programs include its current support for artificially low mortgage rates, so this could be relevant.

We might also learn more about when it’s likely to hike its own interest rates. Although those don’t directly determine mortgage rates, they can have a knock–on effect.

Depending on what they say, those minutes might push mortgage rates up or down.

What’s happening

On Monday, I covered why markets are suddenly taking a rosier view of Omicron. And, yesterday, I explored the forces that are acting to push mortgage rates higher.

But you might be wondering why markets are being optimistic about Omicron when news media are filled with stories about the social and economic damage it’s doing.

We’ve seen thousands of flights canceled owing to staff shortages as crew self–isolate or are sick. Yesterday, schools in Chicago closed, no doubt impacting some parents’ productivity as they had to switch their focus from work to child care. Many companies have suspended their back–to–the–office plans. And the hospitality sector is once again severely affected. All this while hospitals are filling up and daily case rates are rocketing to record highs.

Nobody can claim that the new Omicron wave isn’t wreaking economic damage. So how come markets are so chipper?

Well, markets always claim to be looking (and trading) ahead of events, though they’re often no better at predicting the future than the rest of us. And many investors have bought into the optimistic COVID–19 scenario I described on Monday.

How this affects mortgage rates

They’re gambling that, probably sometime in the spring, we’ll enter a new normal, with much less to fear about the coronavirus medically, societally and – most importantly for them – economically.

Of course, things might not work out that way. But, for now, they’re looking ahead at sunlit uplands. And they like what they see.

As long as that continues, we’re likely to see mortgage rates climb, though probably gradually.

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 5th, 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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