Mortgage and refinance rates today, June 14, 2021

Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports editor

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates fell last Friday. And they start this week at their lowest level in more than a month.

However, it’s looking like they may not stay there long. Because early movements in markets suggest mortgage rates may rise today.

Find and lock a low rate (Jul 31st, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed
Conventional 30 year fixed 2.814% 2.814% Unchanged
Conventional 15 year fixed
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.138% 2.138% +0.01%
Conventional 20 year fixed
Conventional 20 year fixed 2.625% 2.625% Unchanged
Conventional 10 year fixed
Conventional 10 year fixed 1.945% 1.978% Unchanged
Conventional 5 year ARM
Conventional 5 year ARM 3.532% 3.191% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA
30 year fixed FHA 2.688% 3.343% Unchanged
15 year fixed FHA
15 year fixed FHA 2.415% 3.015% +0.14%
5 year ARM FHA
5 year ARM FHA 2.5% 3.194% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA
30 year fixed VA 2.255% 2.426% Unchanged
15 year fixed VA
15 year fixed VA 2.25% 2.571% Unchanged
5 year ARM VA
5 year ARM VA 2.5% 2.372% 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 (Jul 31st, 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?

Last week’s falls were welcome. But I can see no reason to think they’ll continue for long.

Meanwhile, the risks of floating your rate remain real. Because most experts expect mortgage rates to rise decisively at some point soon.

And that’s why my personal rate lock recommendations must 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

However, 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 9:50 a.m. (ET). The data, compared with roughly the same time last Friday, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasurys rose to 1.49% from 1.46%. (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 mostly lower on opening. (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 may happen when indexes are lower
  • Oil prices increased to $71.62 from $70.55 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity. 
  • Gold prices fell to $1,866 from $1,887 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 — inched down to 53 from 54 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 daily 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 edge higher. However, be aware that intraday swings (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

Find and lock a low rate (Jul 31st, 2021)

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 daily 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

Right now, markets seem to be almost perverse in their responses to economic data. But that can’t last forever.

And, to me, the forces that might push up mortgage rates are building:

  • An improved economy usually means higher rates. And most economists are expecting 2021 to be a boom year
  • If inflation continues to heat up, the Federal Reserve might be forced to slow or stop its purchases (currently at a rate of $40 billion a month) of mortgage-backed securities (MBSs). And those purchases are currently keeping mortgage rates artificially low

The danger is that markets resisting those forces could be creating a dam. And we all know what happens when a dam bursts.

Mortgage rates and inflation: Why are rates going up?

Fed committee

Tomorrow sees the start of a two-day meeting or the Fed’s main policy body, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). And Fed chair Jerome Powell will host a news conference at 2:30 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday.

The committee is very likely to at least discuss discussing inflation and whether its purchases of assets, including MBSs, can continue for as long as currently planned. If it signals it’s considering gradually reducing (“tapering”) them that would be dangerous for mortgage borrowers.

Chances are, Mr. Powell will be very firm in his commitment to maintaining those purchases on the present schedule. Because, if he isn’t, mortgage rates could rise, possibly sharply.

A glimmer of hope?

In Saturday’s weekend edition of this column, I explored a new phenomenon. And that’s tied up with the current weakness of the dollar.

When the dollar’s weak, foreign investors get more dollars when they exchange their own currency. And that’s making American investments much more attractive.

Some foreign investors are snapping up 10-year US Treasury notes. And they’re likely buying mortgage-backed securities at the same time. And the more they buy, the higher the price of those MBSs — and the lower their yields and therefore mortgage rates.

But don’t get too excited yet. Last week, CNBC quoted Paresh Upadhyaya, director of fixed income and currency strategy at Amundi U.S. He said:

The dollar’s on the sidelines as it looks for the next key event risk and that’s the FOMC meeting and the prospects the Fed might begin the talk of tapering, which could provide support to the dollar.

— CNBC, “Dollar edges down after inflation data, ahead of FOMC,” June 9, 2021

So there’s a lot riding on Jay Powell’s Wednesday news conference.

Recently

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 then the trend reversed and rates rose.

However, those rises were mostly replaced by falls in April, though those moderated during the second half of that month. Meanwhile, May saw falls very slightly outweighing rises. Freddie’s June 10 report puts that weekly average at 2.96% (with 0.7 fees and points), down from the previous week’s 2.99%.

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 remaining quarters of 2021 (Q2/21, Q3/21, Q4/21) and the first quarter of 2022 (Q1/22).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s were updated on May 19 and the MBA’s on May 21. Freddie’s forecast is dated April 14. But it now updates only quarterly. So expect its numbers to begin to look stale soon.

Forecaster Q2/21 Q3/21 Q4/21 Q1/22
Fannie Mae 3.0% 3.1%  3.2% 3.3%
Freddie Mac 3.2% 3.3%  3.4% 3.5%
MBA 3.1% 3.3%  3.5% 3.7%

However, given so many unknowables, the current crop of forecasts might be even more speculative than usual.

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.

Verify your new rate (Jul 31st, 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.