Mortgage and refinance rates today, Sept. 9, 2021

Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports editor

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates inched lower yesterday. Phew! That drop came after five straight business days without a fall. But, even so, those rates never strayed outside the tight range within which they’ve been moving for months. And they remain exceptionally low.

So far this morning, it’s looking as if mortgage rates today might hold steady or just inch either side of the neutral line. But that could change as the day progresses.

Find and lock a low rate (Oct 18th, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed
Conventional 30 year fixed 2.811% 2.811% Unchanged
Conventional 15 year fixed
Conventional 15 year fixed 1.993% 1.993% -0.02%
Conventional 20 year fixed
Conventional 20 year fixed 2.49% 2.49% Unchanged
Conventional 10 year fixed
Conventional 10 year fixed 1.858% 1.908% -0.04%
Conventional 5 year ARM
Conventional 5 year ARM 3.875% 3.338% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA
30 year fixed FHA 2.688% 3.343% Unchanged
15 year fixed FHA
15 year fixed FHA 2.396% 2.997% Unchanged
5/1 ARM FHA
5/1 ARM FHA 2.5% 3.213% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA
30 year fixed VA 2.253% 2.424% -0.02%
15 year fixed VA
15 year fixed VA 2.25% 2.571% Unchanged
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.
Find and lock a low rate (Oct 18th, 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?

There still seems to be little on the horizon that might push mortgage rates far, at least for a couple of weeks. There is a slight danger point on Sept. 22. And there’s another next month if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling. However, few are seriously worried about either. Read on for more details.

So, for now, it’s looking likely that these rates will continue to drift up and down, going nowhere fast. But they must eventually move decisively at some point. And, when they do, experts overwhelmingly expect them to rise.

So, for now, my personal rate lock recommendations remain:

  • LOCK if closing in 7 days
  • LOCK if closing in 15 days
  • LOCK if closing in 30 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 45 days
  • FLOAT 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 1.33% from 1.36%. (Good for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were mixed shortly after 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 may happen when indexes are lower
  • Oil prices dropped to $68.66 from $69.45 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity. 
  • Gold prices inched higher to $1,797 from $1,796 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 indexinched down to 50 from 51 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 be unchanged or barely changed. 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 (Oct 18th, 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. 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

The Federal Reserve published its Beige Book yesterday, which is a review of the country’s economic outlook published eight time a year. It began slightly alarmingly: “Economic growth downshifted slightly to a moderate pace in early July through August.” But it went on to explain, “The deceleration in economic activity was largely attributable to a pullback in dining out, travel, and tourism …”

And who’s surprised by that, given the prevalence of the COVID-19 Delta variant in many parts of the country? Meanwhile, growth continues — but at a more moderate pace.

Still, the book might put downward pressure on stock indexes and mortgage rates today. However, it’s fighting against this morning’s better-than-expected weekly jobless figures, which might be trying to push them higher.

Tapering

Yesterday, I explained all about “tapering” and how it could push mortgage rates higher. When that starts is down to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy body, the Federal Open Market Committee. And nobody’s sure when it will make a move to trigger a taper.

But we’ll likely find out at one of the three post-meeting news conferences scheduled for this year:

  • Sept. 22
  • Nov. 3
  • Dec. 15

That September date is probably the least likely for an announcement. But these things are unpredictable. And, as we explored yesterday, some powerful voices within the Fed would like to see the earliest possible policy shift. Meanwhile, the Australian and European Union equivalents of the Fed have this week both announced the starts of their tapering initiatives.

Debt ceiling

Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued a stark warning to Congress. She said that the government would run out of money to pay its bills and meet its debt obligations as soon as next month.

The only way to avoid that would be for Congress to raise the debt ceiling, allowing the Treasury to borrow more.

The debt ceiling is an old political football that’s regularly kicked around. But it’s a nonsense. Raising the ceiling doesn’t permit more spending. It only enables spending that Congress has already authorized. And, after kicking the ball around for a while, legislators have so far always caved.

But even that brinkmanship brings dangers. Yesterday, CNN Business’s Nightcap e-newsletter recalled events in 2011, the last time Congress threatened to hold the debt ceiling to ransom:

With an economy still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis, lawmakers got into a protracted debate about the debt ceiling that brought the nation to the brink of default. Even though they ultimately averted disaster, the threat of default sent stocks tumbling and resulted in a downgrade of the United States’ credit rating.

Financial Armageddon

And CNN’s e-newsletter went on to quote an expert. “It would be financial Armageddon,” said Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi. “It’s complete craziness to even contemplate the idea of not paying our debt on time.” 

It’s highly likely that, having had a bit of fun, Congress will raise the debt ceiling. Let’s just hope politicians take their ball home before they do too much damage.

What does this have to do with mortgage rates? Well, even a possibility of the US Treasury defaulting on payments would be enough to push Treasury yields significantly higher. And mortgage rates tend to shadow yields on 10-year US Treasury notes.

It’s way too soon to panic about either tapering or the debt ceiling. But you now know about the only two blips on my radar that are likely to affect mortgage rates much. And they’d both send them higher.

For more background, read Saturday’s weekend edition of this column. And my colleague Tim Lucas’s longer-term forecast, Mortgage interest rates forecast and trends: Will rates go down in September 2021?

Recently — Updated today

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 have been mostly replaced by falls since April, though typically small ones. Freddie’s Sept. 9 report puts that weekly average at 2.88% (with 0.7 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 2.87%.

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 and the MBA’s were updated on Aug. 19. But Freddie’s were last refreshed on July 15 because it now publishes these figures only quarterly. And its forecast is already looking stale.

Forecaster Q3/21 Q4/21 Q1/22 Q2/22
Fannie Mae 2.8% 2.9%  3.0% 3.0%
Freddie Mac 3.3% 3.4%  3.5% 3.6%
MBA 2.9% 3.3%  3.5% 3.7%

However, given so many unknowables, the whole 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.


Verify your new rate (Oct 18th, 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.