Posted 06/20/2018

by Gina Pogol

Gina Pogol writes about personal finance, credit, mortgages and real estate. She loves helping consumers understand complex and intimidating topics. She can be reached on Twitter at @GinaPogol.

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Mortgage rates today, June 20, 2018, plus lock recommendations

mortgage rates today, today's mortgage rates, current mortgage rates

Gina Pogol

The Mortgage Reports Contributor

What’s driving current mortgage rates?

Most mortgage rates today barely moved — the only change is the 30-year fixed rate, which reversed yesterday’s increase and fell back to Monday’s rate.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported today that Existing Home Sales for May decreased .4 percent, largely, said their chief economist, Lawrence Yun, because of tight supplies and higher prices and interest rates. This news did not affect interest rates.

Rates Below Are Averages. Get Your Personalized Rates Here. (Jul 19th, 2018)
Program Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 yr Fixed 4.75 4.761 -0.07%
Conventional 15 yr Fixed 4.292 4.311 Unchanged
Conventional 5 yr ARM 4.313 4.753 Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA 4.458 5.465 Unchanged
15 year fixed FHA 3.75 4.701 Unchanged
5 year ARM FHA 4.188 5.255 Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 4.542 4.736 Unchanged
15 year fixed VA 3.75 4.063 Unchanged
5 year ARM VA 4.25 4.468 Unchanged

Your rate might be different. Click here for a personalized rate quote. See our rate assumptions here.

Financial data affecting today’s mortgage rates

Today’s data are neutral-to-bad for mortgage rates. In most cases, they reversed yesterday’s improvements.

  • Major stock indexes are mixed and flat (neutral for mortgage rates)
  • Gold prices remained at $1,276 an ounce. (That is 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)
  • Oil prices rose$1 to $65 a barrel (that’s bad for mortgage rates because energy prices play a large role in creating inflation)
  • The yield on ten-year Treasuries rose 3 basis points (3/100th of 1 percent) to 2.91 percent, reversing yesterday’s 3 point drop. That is bad news for mortgage rates because mortgage rates tend to follow Treasuries
  • CNNMoney’s Fear & Greed Index largely reversed yesterday’s fall, rising 8 points to 56 (out of a possible 100). That is a greedier direction,  into “neutral.” That’s bad for rates.  “Fearful” investors push bond prices up (and interest rates down) as they leave the stock market and move into bonds, while “greedy” investors do the opposite
Verify your new rate (Jul 19th, 2018)

This week

This week brings less-importing reporting. Borrowers and lenders will have to consider indications from global political news and White House tweets. Only reports that vary significantly from expectations will likely affect rates.

  • Monday: NAHB Home Builders Index for June (previous: 70)
  • Tuesday: Housing Starts for May (previous: 1.287 m)
  • Wednesday: Existing Home Sales for May (previous: 5.46 m)
  • Thursday: Weekly Jobless Claims (previous: 218,000 claims)
  • Friday: nothing

Rate lock recommendation

Rates are trending higher over the long-term, but we have been seeing some dips. Today’s economic indicators point to higher rates, but not alarmingly so. I am making my recommendation a little more conservative this morning.

In general, pricing for a 30-day lock is the standard most lenders will (should) quote you. The 15-day option should get you a discount, and locks over 30 days usually cost more. If you can get a better rate (say, a .125 percent lower rate) by waiting a couple of days to get a 15-day lock instead of a 30, it’s probably safe to consider.

In a rising rate environment, the decision to lock or float becomes complicated. Obviously, if you know rates are rising, you want to lock in as soon as possible. However, the longer you lock, the higher your upfront costs. If you are weeks away from closing on your mortgage, that’s something to consider. On the flip side, if a higher rate would wipe out your mortgage approval, you’ll probably want to lock in even if it costs more.

If you’re still floating, stay in close contact with your lender, and keep an eye on markets.

  • LOCK if closing in 7 days
  • LOCK if closing in 15 days
  • LOCK if closing in 30 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 45 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 60 days
Lock in your rate. Start here. (Jul 19th, 2018)

Video: More about mortgage rates

What causes rates to rise and fall?

Mortgage interest rates depend on a great deal on the expectations of investors. Good economic news tends to be bad for interest rates because an active economy raises concerns about inflation. Inflation causes fixed-income investments like bonds to lose value, and that causes their yields (another way of saying interest rates) to increase.

For example, suppose that two years ago, you bought a $1,000 bond paying five percent interest ($50) each year. (This is called its “coupon rate.”) That’s a pretty good rate today, so lots of investors want to buy it from you. You sell your $1,000 bond for $1,200.

When rates fall

The buyer gets the same $50 a year in interest that you were getting. However, because he paid more for the bond, his interest rate is now five percent.

  • Your interest rate: $50 annual interest / $1,000 = 5.0%
  • Your buyer’s interest rate: $50 annual interest / $1,200 = 4.2%

The buyer gets an interest rate, or yield, of only 4.2 percent. And that’s why, when demand for bonds increases and bond prices go up, interest rates go down.

When rates rise

However, when the economy heats up, the potential for inflation makes bonds less appealing. With fewer people wanting to buy bonds, their prices decrease, and then interest rates go up.

Imagine that you have your $1,000 bond, but you can’t sell it for $1,000 because unemployment has dropped and stock prices are soaring. You end up getting $700. The buyer gets the same $50 a year in interest, but the yield looks like this:

  • $50 annual interest / $700 = 7.1%

The buyer’s interest rate is now slightly more than seven percent. Interest rates and yields are not mysterious. You calculate them with simple math.

Verify your new rate (Jul 19th, 2018)

Gina Pogol

The Mortgage Reports Contributor

Gina Pogol writes about personal finance, credit, mortgages and real estate. She loves helping consumers understand complex and intimidating topics. She can be reached on Twitter at @GinaPogol.

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.

2018 Conforming, FHA, & VA Loan Limits

Mortgage loan limits for every U.S. county, as published by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)