Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates inched lower yesterday for the third consecutive day. But there’s a good chance your lender will not have changed its rate card and has instead reduced your closing costs a little. And conventional loans today start at 2.75% (2.75% APR) for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage.
This brief period of falls may not last much longer. The most likely cause of an appreciable rise would be an agreement in Washington, DC, on a broad package of stimulus measures. But any spectacularly good economic, political or medical news could see mortgage rates rise significantly.Find and lock a low rate (Oct 24th, 2020)
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed|
|Conventional 30 year fixed||2.75%||2.75%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 15 year fixed|
|Conventional 15 year fixed||2.5%||2.5%||Unchanged|
|Conventional 5 year ARM|
|Conventional 5 year ARM||3%||2.743%||Unchanged|
|30 year fixed FHA|
|30 year fixed FHA||2.25%||3.226%||Unchanged|
|15 year fixed FHA|
|15 year fixed FHA||2.25%||3.191%||Unchanged|
|5 year ARM FHA|
|5 year ARM FHA||2.5%||3.251%||Unchanged|
|30 year fixed VA|
|30 year fixed VA||3.125%||3.305%||Unchanged|
|15 year fixed VA|
|15 year fixed VA||2.25%||2.571%||Unchanged|
|5 year ARM VA|
|5 year ARM VA||2.5%||2.433%||Unchanged|
|Your rate might be different. Click here for a personalized rate quote. See our rate assumptions here.|
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?
For months, mortgage rates have been falling gently overall, though that’s been punctuated by briefer periods of rises.
Some of this is likely down to the Federal Reserve, which is actively intervening in the mortgage market through its mass buying of mortgage bonds. And that’s keeping these rates lower than otherwise.
However, markets are facing unprecedented uncertainty on multiple fronts: political, economic and medical.
And greater clarity on any of those (an undisputed election result; enactment of a stimulus package; real, demonstrable progress on a vaccine …) could suddenly push these rates sharply higher. So build those into your decision over when to lock your rate.
Absent those, my personal recommendations remain:
- 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
But, with so much uncertainty at the moment, your instincts could easily turn out to be as good as mine — or better. So be guided by your personal tolerance for risk.
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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 yesterday morning, were:
- The yield on 10-year Treasurys held steady at 0.77%. (Neutral 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 higher on 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 happens when indexes are lower
- Oil prices edged lower to $40.86 from $41.06 a barrel. (Neutral for mortgage rates* because energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.)
- Gold prices rose to $1,923 from $1,903 an ounce. (Good 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 held steady at 58 out of a possible 100 points. (Neutral 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.
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. The Fed is now a huge player and some days can overwhelm investor sentiment.
So 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. Today, they’re looking unexciting for mortgage rates. But much depends on talks over a stimulus package. If those fall apart during the day, rates could fall. But if they seem to be making real progress, rates could rise.
Important notes on today’s mortgage rates
Here are some things you need to know:
- The Fed’s ongoing interventions in the mortgage market (at least $1 trillion; some say nearly $2 trillion) should put continuing downward pressure on these rates. But it can’t work miracles all the time. So expect short-term rises as well as falls. And read “For once, the Fed DOES affect mortgage rates. Here’s why” if you want to understand this aspect of what’s happening
- 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
- Only “top-tier” borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you’ll see advertised
- 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
- When rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
- 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
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?
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 we’ve gotten close to others since. Still, a new one remains a real possibility.
But such a new low is far from a given. Indeed, some recent market movements suggest it could be a way off. And that limited rises could push rates higher, at least until the election and perhaps beyond.
It all depends on countless variables, most of which are unknowable. So don’t listen to anyone who claims to be able to predict with any certainty where mortgage rates will go next.
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 rates forecasts for the last quarter of 2020 (Q4/20) and the first three of 2021 (Q1/21, Q2/21 and Q3/21).
Note that Fannie’s (published Sept. 15) and the MBA’s (Sept. 21) are updated monthly. However, Freddie’s are now published quarterly. The last was released on June 8 and the next was, presumably, due in September.
But, as of the morning of Oct. 9, there’s still no sign of it. So Freddie’s feel stale. Indeed, we may pull its entry in the following table if there isn’t an update soon.
The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages:
So expectations vary considerably. You pays yer money …
Find your lowest rate today
Everyone — from federal regulators to personal finance gurus — agrees that shopping around for your new mortgage or refinance is important. You could save thousands over just a few years by getting quotes from multiple lenders. And more, if you keep your mortgage for a long time or have a large loan.
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 start shopping around soon for your new mortgage or refinance. You’re most likely to find a great deal on the type of loan you want if you spread your net widely.
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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.