Mortgage and refinance rates today, November 10, 2020

Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports editor

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates jumped appreciably yesterday. And conventional loans started out this morning at 2.75% (2.75% APR) for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. 

Although yesterday’s rise was painful, it was much less sharp than other markets suggested it would be. Read on to find out why. As for today, that’s looking much less worrying. We might well see a holding steady or just a small rise.

Find and lock a low rate (Jan 17th, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed
Conventional 30 year fixed 2.75% 2.75% Unchanged
Conventional 15 year fixed
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.625% 2.625% +0.13%
Conventional 5 year ARM
Conventional 5 year ARM 3% 2.743% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA
30 year fixed FHA 3% 3.982% Unchanged
15 year fixed FHA
15 year fixed FHA 2.25% 3.191% Unchanged
5 year ARM FHA
5 year ARM FHA 2.5% 3.239% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA
30 year fixed VA 3% 3.179% Unchanged
15 year fixed VA
15 year fixed VA 2.25% 2.571% Unchanged
5 year ARM VA
5 year ARM VA 2.5% 2.419% 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 (Jan 17th, 2021)

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?

Maybe. Markets are quiet this morning and the hangover after yesterday’s euphoria may even bring some buyer’s remorse, with some key markets turning lower. So I’m not expecting another significant rise, although unforeseen events may yet prove me wrong.

In the cold light of this morning, investors may gain some perspective on yesterday’s undeniably great news from Pfizer about its vaccine trials. First, that vaccine has to pass many more trials before it can be approved, probably months down the line. And, even after that, it will be many more months before sufficient doses have been administered to make a difference in public health terms.

In the meantime, the economic consequences of the pandemic could be severe. The New York Times reckons there were 130,553 new COVID-19 cases reported yesterday in the US. And that was 64% up on two weeks earlier. The total death toll among Americans was “at least 238,700” with 800 a day in early November.

For now, I’ll leave my new personal rate lock recommendations as they were yesterday. But, if markets continue to settle, I’ll be shortening those lock periods again:

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

With so much uncertainty at the moment, your instincts could easily turn out to be as good as mine — or better. In particular, there’s a risk that I’m overestimating the longevity of yesterday’s bounce. So be guided by your gut and your personal tolerance for risk.

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 edged up to 0.96% from 0.94%. (Bad 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 mixed on opening. (Neutral 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 were essentially unchanged at $40.95 from $40.94 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 inched higher to $1,881 from $1,877 an ounce. (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 — Pulled back to 59 from 62 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.

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 OK for mortgage rates.

Find and lock a low rate (Jan 17th, 2021)

Important notes on today’s mortgage rates

Here are some things you need to know:

  1. The Fed’s ongoing interventions in the mortgage market (way over $1 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
  2. 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
  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 daily 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. Refinance rates are typically close to those for purchases. But some types of refinances from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are currently appreciably higher following a regulatory change

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?

Today

Why did mortgage rates move much less far yesterday than other markets did? They’re actually lower this morning than they were this time last week.

It’s probably because many lenders have been keeping their rates higher than necessary in recent months in order to deter borrowers from overwhelming them with demand they can’t satisfy. So they had a cushion that let them move more moderately when other markets were reacting sharply.

And those other markets are much quieter this morning. They’ve gained perspective on yesterday’s vaccine news from Pfizer. As analysts at ING put it:

None of this unfortunately changes the near-term fact that the global economy faces a challenging winter.

And I always expected the bounce following the calling of the presidential race to be brief (though maybe not this brief).

So, absent further momentous news, it would be no surprise if mortgage rates hold steady today or just inch higher.

If I’m right, there’s no need to rush into locking. Who knows? There might be more falls in the coming days and weeks.

Recently

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. Indeed, Freddie Mac said that a new low was set during each of the weeks ending Oct. 15 and 22 and Nov. 5. And last Thursday’s numbers didn’t include the appreciable falls seen over the previous two days.

But not every mortgage expert agrees with Freddie’s figures. In particular, they relate to purchase mortgages alone and ignore refinances. And if you average out across both, rates have been consistently higher than the all-time low since that August record. The gap between the two has been widened by a controversial regulatory change.

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 (out on Oct. 19) and the MBA’s (Oct. 21) are updated monthly. However, Freddie’s are now published quarterly. Its latest was released on Oct. 14.

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages:

ForecasterQ4/20Q1/21Q2/21Q3/21
Fannie Mae2.9%2.8%2.8%2.8%
Freddie Mac3.0%3.0%3.0%3.0%
MBA3.0%3.1%3.1%3.2%

So predictions vary considerably. You pays yer money …

Find your lowest rate today

The pandemic — together with a surge in home sales and mortgage and refinance applications — has created some turmoil in the home loans industry.

And that’s making it harder for some borrowers to find the sorts of mortgages they need. So be prepared to shop around even more widely than usual.

But, of course, comparison shopping for a loan is always important. 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.

Verify your new rate (Jan 17th, 2021)

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.