Mortgage and refinance rates today, September 8, 2020

Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports editor

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates rose quite sharply last Friday, a possibility of which we warned that morning. Good employment data were behind the rise. Conventional loans today start at 2.875% (2.875% APR) for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. 

Find and lock a low rate (Dec 4th, 2020)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 yr Fixed 2.875 2.875 Unchanged
Conventional 15 yr Fixed 2.625 2.625 Unchanged
Conventional 5 yr ARM 3.875 3.094 Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA 2.25 3.226 Unchanged
15 year fixed FHA 2.25 3.191 Unchanged
5 year ARM FHA 2.5 3.239 Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 2.25 2.421 Unchanged
15 year fixed VA 2.25 2.571 Unchanged
5 year ARM VA 2.5 2.419 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 (Dec 4th, 2020)


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?

Some highly credible experts are warning that further rises in mortgage rates are inevitable in coming weeks. We’re not so sure. The Federal Reserve is still buying mortgages by the boat load and that’s applying downward pressure on these rates.

Still, if you are inclined to caution, you might choose to lock soon while great deals remain assured.

  • LOCK if closing in 7 days
  • LOCK if closing in 15 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 30 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 45 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 60 days

Market data affecting today’s mortgage rates 

Here’s the state of play this morning at about 9:50 a.m. (ET). The data, compared with about the same time last Friday morning, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasurys inched lower to 0.67% from 0.68%. (Good 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. (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 happens when indexes are lower
  • Oil prices tumbled to $36.81 from $40.83 (Good for mortgage rates* because energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.) 
  • Gold prices fell to $1,918 an ounce from $1,934. (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 index fell to 56 from 61 out of a possible 100 points. (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 a matter of cents on oil ones is a fraction of 1%. So we only count meaningful differences as good or bad for mortgage rates.

Time was when those numbers gave a good indication of where mortgage rates would move during a day. But with the Fed now intervening invisibly in the mortgage market, that’s no longer the case.

So follow our lead and use markets only as a rough guide. They have to be exceptionally strong (rates are likely to rise) or weak (they could fall) to rely on them. With that in mind, today may be a better day for mortgage rates.

Find and lock a low rate (Dec 4th, 2020)

Important notes on today’s mortgage rates

Here’s some stuff you need to know:

  1. The Fed’s ongoing interventions in the mortgage market ($1 trillion and counting) should put continuing downward pressure on these rates. But it can’t work miracles all the time. So expect rises as well as falls. And read “For once, the Fed DOES affect mortgage rates. Here’s why” if you want to understand that aspect of what’s happening
  2. Typically, mortgage rates go up when the economy’s doing well and down when it’s in trouble. But there are exceptions
  3. Only “top-tier” borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you’ll see advertised
  4. Lenders vary. Yours may or may not follow the crowd when it comes to rate movements — though they all usually follow the wider trend over time
  5. When rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
  6. At times of high demand, lenders can push up rates as a way of managing their workflow. Neither markets nor the Fed can help when that happens

With all that to bear in mind, accurately forecasting where rates will go in the short term is often impossible — or nearly so.

Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?

Over the last few months, the overall trend for mortgage rates has clearly been downward. A new all-time low was set early in August and another looked possible last week — before better-than-expected employment data snatched that possibility away, though only for now.

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.

Expert mortgage rate forecasts

And here are their current rates forecasts for the last two quarters of 2020 (Q3/20 and Q4/20) and the first two of 2021 (Q1/21 and Q2/21).

Note that Fannie’s and the MBA’s are updated monthly while Freddie’s are published quarterly So Freddie’s sometimes feel stale. The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages:

Forecaster Q3/20 Q4/20 Q1/21 Q2/21
Fannie Mae 3.0% 2.9% 2.8% 2.7%
Freddie Mac 3.3% 3.3% 3.2% 3.2%
MBA 3.0% 3.1% 3.1% 3.1%

So expectations vary considerably. You pays yer money …

Find your lowest rate today

It’s always been important to shop widely for your new mortgage or refinance. You stand to save thousands over just a few years by getting quotes from multiple lenders and comparing them carefully.

But you’ve rarely had more to gain by shopping around than you do now. The mortgage market is currently very messy. And some lenders are offering appreciably lower rates than others. Worse, some are making it harder to get any mortgage at all if you want a cash-out refinance, a loan for an investment property, a jumbo loan or if your credit score is damaged.

So shop till you drop (off to sleep at your keyboard). You could save a bundle.

Verify your new rate (Dec 4th, 2020)

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.