Mortgage and refinance rates today, June 21, 2021

Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports editor

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates just inched higher last Friday. It brought to an end a very bad week for those rates.

Global markets have been volatile this morning. So forecasts are speculative. But, with luck, mortgage rates might hold steady today — or close to steady.

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 2.936% 2.936% Unchanged
Conventional 15 year fixed
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.37% 2.37% Unchanged
Conventional 20 year fixed
Conventional 20 year fixed 2.75% 2.75% Unchanged
Conventional 10 year fixed
Conventional 10 year fixed 2.077% 2.11% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA
30 year fixed FHA 2.806% 3.464% Unchanged
15 year fixed FHA
15 year fixed FHA 2.688% 3.291% +0.22%
5 year ARM FHA
5 year ARM FHA 2.5% 3.22% +0.01%
30 year fixed VA
30 year fixed VA 2.375% 2.547% Unchanged
15 year fixed VA
15 year fixed VA 2.25% 2.571% Unchanged
5 year ARM VA
5 year ARM VA 2.5% 2.399% +0.01%
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?

So, last week was a bad one for mortgage rates. But will this one be any better? Well, probably. But that’s not saying much.

With luck, those who are still floating their mortgage rates may have dodged a bullet. But the big picture remains: Most economists think mortgage rates will rise overall when they finally break free of their current narrow range.

So 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 fell to 1.48% from 1.50%. (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 mostly higher soon after 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 may happen when indexes are lower
  • Oil prices rose to $72.02 from $71.16 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity. 
  • Gold prices held steady at $1,776 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 indextumbled to 30 from 35 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 fall. But 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

Overnight, stock markets in the Asia-Pacific region were in turmoil, recording big losses. Some of that is down to an appearance on CNBC last Friday of Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard. He predicted that the Fed might increase its own interest rates (which have little to do with mortgage rates) as soon as next year, earlier than previously forecast. Stock markets reacted badly to his words.

But what’s bad for stocks can be good for bonds. Yields on 10-year Treasury notes peaked at 1.58% last week. But they were back down to 1.43% overnight today. Unfortunately, they’d edged back up to 1.48% by 9:48 a.m. (ET) this morning. And yields on those particular notes usually have a close relationship with mortgage rates.

So the immediate prospects look better for mortgage rates. But they’re clearly subject to significant volatility at the moment. And there’s no guarantee they’ll be low for long.

Meanwhile, the forces that act on those rates seem to be strongly aligned to eventually push them higher. But nobody knows how soon “eventually” will arrive.

Of course, there’s always a possibility of some huge disaster undermining the economic recovery and pushing mortgage rates back down. But that currently looks much less likely than the scenario most economists forecast: higher mortgage rates ahead.

Mortgage rates and inflation: Why are rates going up?

For more background, read Saturday’s weekend edition of this column, which has more space for in-depth analysis.

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 17 report puts that weekly average at 2.93% (with 07 fees and points), down from the previous week’s 2.96%. But that won’t have included most of the sharp rises we saw last week.

Expert mortgage rate forecasts — updated today

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 June 16 and the MBA’s on June 18. Freddie’s forecast is dated April 14. But it now updates only quarterly. So its numbers are starting to look stale.

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