Mortgage and refinance rates today, March 15, 2021

March 15, 2021 - 6 min read

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates rose appreciably on Friday. So it was yet another example of rates ending a week higher than they started it. However, bear in mind that each of these weekly movements is generally small.

Judging from markets first thing, we may see unchanged mortgage rates today, or perhaps slightly lower ones. But, with investors as jittery as they are at the moment, that’s not something you can rely on.

Current mortgage and refinance rates

ProgramMortgage RateAPR*Change
Conventional 30 year fixed
Conventional 30 year fixed 6.363% 6.398% +0.04
Conventional 15 year fixed
Conventional 15 year fixed 5.656% 5.709% +0.2
Conventional 20 year fixed
Conventional 20 year fixed 6.238% 6.304% -0.01
Conventional 10 year fixed
Conventional 10 year fixed 5.843% 5.962% +0.29
30 year fixed FHA
30 year fixed FHA 6.224% 6.969% +0.22
15 year fixed FHA
15 year fixed FHA 5.819% 6.31% +0.24
30 year fixed VA
30 year fixed VA 5.947% 6.177% +0.28
15 year fixed VA
15 year fixed VA 6.25% 6.61% +0.54
Conventional 5 year ARM
Conventional 5 year ARM 7.25% 7.309% +0.39
5/1 ARM FHA 7.25% 7.579% +0.4
5/1 ARM VA
5/1 ARM VA 7.25% 7.579% +0.4
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 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?

Recent rises in mortgage rates have been slow but relentless. Of course, there are falls some days. But the rises tend to be more frequent and bigger.

And I don’t see any reason to think that’s likely to change. Of course, a reversal of the trend remains possible. It just looks unlikely.

So my personal rate lock recommendations remain:

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

But I don’t claim perfect foresight. And your personal analysis could turn out to be as good as mine — or better. So you might choose to be guided by your instincts 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 10:50 a.m. (ET). The data, compared with roughly the same time yesterday, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasurys inched down to 1.61% from 1.62%. (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 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 lower at $64.69, down from $65.73 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.)
  • Gold prices rose to $1,727 from $1,700 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 — Fell to 57 from 61 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.

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. We still make calls. And are usually right. But our record for accuracy won’t achieve its former high levels until things settle down.

So use markets only as a rough guide. Because they have to be exceptionally strong or weak to rely on them. But, with that caveat, so far mortgage rates today look likely to hold steady or edge lower. Just be aware that intraday swings (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

Important notes on today’s mortgage rates

Here are some things you need to know:

  1. 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
  2. Only “top-tier” borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you’ll see advertised
  3. 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
  4. When rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
  5. 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

It looks likely that we’ll see a real and perhaps rapid economic recovery for the rest of this year. The president’s American Rescue Plan Act became law last week. And it should significantly boost spending in the private, public and consumer sectors as its $1.9 trillion is distributed.

Meanwhile, even without that, a slower recovery would probably occur. As the vaccination program continues to accelerate, businesses and people can begin to get back to normal.

That’s great news for everyone — except those who want low mortgage rates. Because an improving economy and higher rates almost always walk hand in hand.

Of course, some periods of falls (recently, just occasional days) are inevitable. That’s how markets work. But the overall trend is very probably going to remain an upward one.

Naturally, that’s not inevitable. There are various risk factors that could reverse the trend. But they look much less likely than a continuation, especially within the time frames most readers have before they must lock.

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


Over much of 2020, the overall trend for mortgage rates was clearly downward. And a new, weekly all-time low was set on 16 occasions last year, according to Freddie Mac.

The most recent weekly record low occurred on Jan. 7, when it stood at 2.65% for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. But rates then rose. And Freddie’s Mar. 11 report puts that weekly average at 3.05% (with 0.6 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 3.02%.

Expert mortgage rate forecasts

Looking further ahead, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) each have 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. Fannie’s and the MBA’s were updated on Feb. 18 and 19 respectively. But Freddie now publishes forecasts quarterly and its figures are from mid-January:

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

However, 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.

Peter Warden
Authored By: Peter Warden

The Mortgage Reports Editor|User role

Peter Warden has been writing for a decade about mortgages, personal finance, credit cards, and insurance. His work has appeared across a wide range of media. He lives in a small town with his partner of 25 years.