Mortgage and refinance rates today, February 16, 2021

February 16, 2021 - 7 min read

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Markets were closed yesterday. However, average mortgage rates rose again last Friday. Of course, rises are unwelcome. But these rates remain within their exceptionally low recent range.

First thing this morning, it was looking as if mortgage rates might rise appreciably today. As The Guardian put it overnight: “Investors are showing growing confidence that Covid-19 vaccines will calm the pandemic, and that Joe Biden will drive through a $1.9tn stimulus package.”

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed
Conventional 30 year fixed 2.809% 2.812% Unchanged
Conventional 15 year fixed
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.459% 2.468% Unchanged
Conventional 20 year fixed
Conventional 20 year fixed 2.846% 2.853% Unchanged
Conventional 10 year fixed
Conventional 10 year fixed 2.476% 2.502% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA
30 year fixed FHA 2.562% 3.233% Unchanged
15 year fixed FHA
15 year fixed FHA 2.445% 3.026% Unchanged
5 year ARM FHA
5 year ARM FHA 2.5% 3.207% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA
30 year fixed VA 2.128% 2.298% Unchanged
15 year fixed VA
15 year fixed VA 2% 2.319% Unchanged
5 year ARM VA
5 year ARM VA 2.5% 2.386% 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.

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?

If you average out rises and falls in mortgage rates over the last few weeks, there’s been little change. And it’s likely true that you won’t lose or gain much whether you decide to lock or to continue to float your rate.

But with such a low potential upside to floating looking likely, it doesn’t seem to me worth putting off locking. Yes, the chances of a sudden, sharp upward movement are roughly the same as a similar downward one.

But aren’t you going to be more upset if you have to pay more for your mortgage than if you miss out on paying less?

It’s on those grounds that my personal rate lock recommendations are:

  • 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

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 gut and your personal tolerance for risk.

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 about the same time last Friday morning (markets were closed for Presidents Day yesterday), were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasurys climbed to 1.26% from 1.20%. (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 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 jumped to $59.93 from $58.41 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates* because energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.)
  • Gold prices moved down to $1,792 from $1,820 an ounce. (Bad 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 — Rose to 70 from 67 out of 100. (Bad 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. The Fed is now a huge player and some days can overwhelm investor sentiment.

So use markets only as a rough guide. Because they have to be exceptionally strong (rates are likely to rise) or weak (they could fall) to rely on them. But, with that caveat, so far mortgage rates look likely to rise today.

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. 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 are 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 and soon

I’m expecting mortgage rates to increase today, perhaps appreciably. But, as always, that could change as the day progresses.

The mood in markets has been relatively upbeat in recent days. Investors are more hopeful than ever that the worst economic effects of the pandemic will soon be behind us.

And they like President Joe Biden’s chances of shepherding his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package through Congress. As long as that optimistic mood persists, mortgage rates are more likely to rise than fall.

But there are always negative events in the wings waiting to take to the stage. And not everyone thinks the current outlook is so rosy.

For example, this morning, American Banker magazine reported on a survey of executives of small banks. And it found most thought “A full rebound won’t occur until next year at the earliest because of the slow vaccine rollout.” So it’s way too soon to assume that recent higher rates are the start of an upward trend.

For more background on my wider thinking, read our latest weekend edition, which is published every Saturday soon after 10 a.m. (ET).


Over the last several months, the overall trend for mortgage rates has clearly been downward. And a new, weekly all-time low was set on 16 occasions last year, according to Freddie Mac.

The most recent such weekly record occurred on Jan. 7, when it stood at 2.65% for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. But rates then rose, though only modestly. And in Freddie’s Feb. 11 report that weekly average was 2.73% — the same as the previous week and the one before that.

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 each quarter of 2021 (Q1/21, Q2/21, Q3/21 and Q4/21).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. And they were all published between Jan. 14 and 20:

Forecaster Q1/21 Q2/21 Q3/21 Q4/21
Fannie Mae 2.7% 2.7% 2.8% 2.8%
Freddie Mac 2.9% 2.9% 3.0% 3.0%
MBA 2.9% 3.1% 3.3% 3.4%

But, given so many unknowables, the current crop of forecasts may be even more speculative than usual. And there’s certainly a widening spread as the year progresses.

Find your lowest rate today

Some lenders have been spooked by the pandemic. And they’re restricting their offerings to just the most vanilla-flavored mortgages and refinances.

But others remain brave. And you can still probably find the cash-out refinance, investment mortgage or jumbo loan you want. You just have to shop around more widely.

But, of course, you should be comparison shopping 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.

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.