Mortgage and refinance rates today, July 30, 2021

Peter Warden
Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports Editor
July 30, 2021 - 8 min read

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates inched lower yesterday. We’ve been having these tiny ups and downs all week. And they really make very little difference.

Early movements in key markets suggest mortgage rates today may move modestly lower. But that could change as the hours pass.

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed
Conventional 30 year fixed 2.688% 2.688% Unchanged
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% Unchanged
Conventional 10 year fixed
Conventional 10 year fixed 1.851% 1.88% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA
30 year fixed FHA 2.568% 3.219% -0.03%
15 year fixed FHA
15 year fixed FHA 2.34% 2.94% Unchanged
5/1 ARM FHA
5/1 ARM FHA 2.5% 3.207% 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% Unchanged
5/1 ARM VA
5/1 ARM VA 2.497% 2.385% 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?

Bond markets and mortgage rates have been drifting for the last week. And they may well continue to do so for a while longer. So you probably won’t gain or lose much by continuing to float. But the good news is that we’re seeing “$2ome of the lowest mortgage rates of all time,” according to Freddie Mac’s chief economist, writing yesterday.

However, most specialist economists expect mortgage rates to rise soon. So, if you do choose to continue to float your rate, be ready to lock at any moment.

But many would rather lock now at an extraordinarily low rate rather than take a chance on sudden rises. 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

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 fell to 1.24% from 1.27%. (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 lower shortly after 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 $73.83 from $72.91 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 higher to $1,829 from $1,827 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 indexfell to 26 from 30 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 lower. But be aware that “$2ntraday 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 “$2op–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

It’s a quiet time for mortgage rates. Yes, we had some real excitement in the middle of July. But, based on Mortgage News Daily’s data, rates on 30–year fixed–rate mortgages were yesterday just 3 basis points lower than they were on July 19, the last day of big falls. And a basis point is just one–hundredth of 1%.

Regular readers will know that I and many other observers of mortgage rates have been mystified by the behavior of relevant markets for some months. The bond market that trades in mortgage–backed securities (and the yields on those actually determine mortgage rates) is acting as if we’re in the midst of a recession rather than seeing the boom that’s actually happening around us.

As MarketWatch put it yesterday, “$2he size of the economy now exceeds pre–pandemic levels after a short but deep recession last year.” And, yes, yesterday’s gross domestic product (GDP) figure for the second quarter of 2021 fell short of expectations.

But it still surged at an annualized rate of 6.5%. And we’re still on track to see GDP improve this year at a faster rate than at any time in the past several decades.

What’s going on?

Whenever markets act perversely, they claim they’re simply pricing in future events. That may or may not wash right now.

But they do have a point about some risky possibilities ahead. And most of them relate to the COVID–19 pandemic, both domestically and globally.

Yesterday, The New York Times got hold of a copy of an internal report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). And, overnight, the Times reported on its content thus:

Infections in vaccinated Americans ... may be as transmissible as those in unvaccinated people ... The Delta variant is more transmissible than the viruses that cause MERS, SARS, Ebola, the common cold, the seasonal flu and smallpox, and it is as contagious as chickenpox ... People with so–called breakthrough infections of the Delta variant carry just as much virus in the nose and throat as unvaccinated people, and may spread it just as readily, if less often.

— NYT, "C.D.C. Internal Report Calls Delta Variant as Contagious as Chickenpox," July 29, 2021

That’s genuinely scary. (Although the report ended with some reassurances from a virus expert.) And, were markets reacting to such reporting, you could understand why. But they’re not. The falls that happened a couple of weeks ago had no apparent trigger. And it felt more like a panic attack.

The trouble with markets that are operating with this level of irrationality is that they’re perverse, fickle and unpredictable. And that’s unhelpful when you’re trying to make a rational decision about when to lock your mortgage rate.

For more background, read Saturday’s weekend edition of this column.

Mortgage rates and inflation: Why are rates going up?

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 and since, though typically small ones. Freddie’s July 29 report puts that weekly average at 2.8% (with 0.7 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 2.78%.

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 rate 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 the forecasters 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.