Mortgage and refinance rates today, July 23, 2021

Peter Warden
Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports Editor
July 23, 2021 - 8 min read

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates fell yesterday. At least this time we have a pretty good idea why. It was probably that morning’s disappointing weekly unemployment data.

This morning, there are no such data. And mortgage rates today look likely to rise moderately. But, as always, there’s a risk of markets accelerating, slowing or changing direction within a matter of hours.

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed
Conventional 30 year fixed 2.736% 2.736% -0.03%
Conventional 15 year fixed
Conventional 15 year fixed 1.99% 1.99% Unchanged
Conventional 20 year fixed
Conventional 20 year fixed 2.375% 2.375% -0.12%
Conventional 10 year fixed
Conventional 10 year fixed 1.847% 1.873% -0.01%
30 year fixed FHA
30 year fixed FHA 2.632% 3.284% -0.05%
15 year fixed FHA
15 year fixed FHA 2.369% 2.968% Unchanged
5/1 ARM FHA 2.5% 3.213% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA
30 year fixed VA 2.25% 2.421% Unchanged
15 year fixed VA
15 year fixed VA 2.125% 2.445% -0.13%
5/1 ARM VA
5/1 ARM VA 2.5% 2.392% 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?

Yesterday’s weekly Freddie Mac rates report put the average for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 2.78% (with 0.7 fees and points). And that’s within spitting distance of the all-time low of 2.65%. So should you wait for it to reach (or maybe dip below) that record low?

I wouldn’t blame you for trying. But rises in rates are roughly as likely as falls at the moment. So it’s a gamble. And there have been only three times in the entire 50-year history of Freddie’s records when monthly averages have been lower than 2.78%. So locking now would mean that you’re getting a historically amazing deal while avoiding the risk of higher rates ahead.

Because I favor discretion over valor, 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

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 yesterday, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes rose to 1.30% from 1.27%. (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 shortly 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 $71.73 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 inched lower to $1,797 from $1,799 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 indexedged up to 31 from 28 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. 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 rise. But 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 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. And a recent regulatory change has narrowed a gap that previously existed

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

Have I been unfair in branding markets “irrational” and “emotional” over the sharp falls we saw in mortgage rates last week? I don’t think so.

But that doesn’t mean that markets don’t have good grounds for some fears:

  1. Infection rates for the Delta COVID-19 variant are rocketing in many major economies — as well as emerging ones. And, while vaccines provide good protection from being hospitalized and dying, vaccination rates in the US and elsewhere are disappointingly plateauing
  2. A knock-on effect of the pandemic is severe supply-chain disruption that’s affecting some productivity. For example, General Motors is pausing production for a week of many of its full-size pickup trucks because it can’t get hold of sufficient computer chips. Other automakers in other countries face similar problems. And, yesterday, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said that “it could take one or two years to get back to a reasonable supply-and-demand balance in the semiconductor industry,” according to The Wall Street Journal
  3. Yesterday’s weekly data for new claims for unemployment insurance were disappointingly high. Yes, weekly figures are a poor guide. But there’s no denying that we’ve a way to go before we replace all the jobs lost as a result of the pandemic

So, yes. Markets should be fearful about how these issues will play out in the future. But they’re acting as if it’s already clear that the economic recovery will sputter and die. And that’s simply not the case. Indeed, most recent economic data suggest it remains alive and strong.

If those data continue to be positive, it’s hard to see how markets can maintain their pessimism. And, if and when their Damascene conversion to optimism arrives, mortgage rates are likely to rise.

Mortgage rates and inflation: Why are rates going up?


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 and since, though typically small ones. Freddie’s July 22 report puts that weekly average at 2.78% (with 0.7 fees and points), down from the previous week’s 2.88%.

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 (Q3/21 and Q4/21) and the first two quarters of 2022 (Q1/22 and Q2/22).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s were updated on July 19, Freddie’s on July 15 and the MBA’s on July 21.

Forecaster Q3/21 Q4/21 Q1/22 Q2/22
Fannie Mae 3.0% 3.1%  3.2% 3.2%
Freddie Mac 3.3% 3.4%  3.5% 3.6%
MBA 3.2% 3.4%  3.8% 4.0%

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

All these forecasts expect higher mortgage rates soon. But the differences between each other are stark. And it may be that Fannie isn’t building in the Federal Reserve’s tapering of its support for mortgage rates while Freddie and the MBA are.

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.

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The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.