Mortgage and refinance rates today, Oct. 26, 2021

Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports editor

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates caught a break yesterday as they held steady. But they remain at their highest level since April. Still, previous generations wouldn’t have believed that rates could possibly go as low as they still are now.

First thing this morning, mortgage rates today looked likely to be unchanged or barely changed. But markets are too volatile to be certain.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Dec 4th, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed
Conventional 30 year fixed 3.279% 3.298% -0.03%
Conventional 15 year fixed
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.623% 2.654% -0.03%
Conventional 20 year fixed
Conventional 20 year fixed 3.064% 3.098% -0.05%
Conventional 10 year fixed
Conventional 10 year fixed 2.559% 2.623% -0.02%
30 year fixed FHA
30 year fixed FHA 3.324% 4.088% -0.02%
15 year fixed FHA
15 year fixed FHA 2.601% 3.246% -0.04%
5/1 ARM FHA
5/1 ARM FHA 2.775% 3.255% +0.01%
30 year fixed VA
30 year fixed VA 3.139% 3.333% -0.03%
15 year fixed VA
15 year fixed VA 2.876% 3.226% +0.04%
5/1 ARM VA
5/1 ARM VA 2.543% 2.441% -0.02%
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.

Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

Of course, mortgage rates will briefly dip from time to time. And they may fall in a sustained way. Possible but not likely. Because, in my view, higher rates in the coming weeks and months are more than probable.

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

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 held steady at 1.63%. (Neutral for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were higher 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. But this is an imperfect relationship
  • Oil prices inched up to $83.41 from $83.38 a barrel. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity. 
  • Gold prices edged lower to $1,795 from $1,810 an ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) In general, it is 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 — climbed to 74 from 70 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, mortgage rates today look likely to hold steady or just inch either side of the neutral line. But be aware that “intraday swings” (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Dec 4th, 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

Yesterday, I identified the three main drivers of higher mortgage rates. For more information about those, read last Saturday’s weekend edition of these daily reports.

All those drivers are related and have the common ancestor of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic recedes and the economic recovery gains momentum, higher mortgage rates are very likely.

But it’s not all smooth sailing for that recovery. And the biggest waves are being created by supply chain issues.

We’re learning that, once broken (as they were by the pandemic), supply chains are hard to fix. So, for example, this morning’s Guardian reports:

Sentiment among German exporters has taken a big hit, according to a survey. In October, the Ifo institute’s export expectations index fell to 13.0 points from 20.5 points in September, the lowest value since February. The institute said supply problems of materials used to make German goods (such as chips) are affecting exports.


— The Guardian, “German exports hit by shortages … — business live,” Oct. 26, 2021

And, of course, there are difficulties closer to home. Dozens of container ships are anchored off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach alone, awaiting unloading slots. And, yesterday, Goldman Sachs estimated that the cargo on board those vessels is worth $24 billion. The bank also suggested these problems will persist at least until the middle of 2022, according to CNN Business.

Implications for mortgage rates

Clearly, supply chain issues are slowing the economic recovery both domestically and globally. But, so far, they haven’t undermined it. We’ll get more information when the first estimate of our gross domestic product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2021 is released on Thursday.

As long as supply chain issues continue to put only a modest brake on the recovery, mortgage rates should continue to rise. But, if those issues continue to a point where they throw that recovery into reverse, they might cause rates to fall back. We’ll have to wait to see how this plays out.

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.

Since then, the picture has been mixed with extended periods of rises and falls. Unfortunately, since September, the rises have grown more pronounced.

Freddie’s Oct. 21 report puts that weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 3.09% (with 0.7 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 3.05%.

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

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s and Freddie’s were published on Oct. 15 and the MBA’s on Oct. 18.

ForecasterQ4/21Q1/22Q2/22Q3/22
Fannie Mae3.1%3.2% 3.2%3.3%
Freddie Mac3.2%3.4% 3.5%3.6%
MBA3.1%3.3% 3.5%3.7%

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

All these forecasts expect at least modestly higher mortgage rates fairly soon.

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 (Dec 4th, 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.