Mortgage and refinance rates today, Feb. 23, 2022

Peter Warden
Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports Editor
February 23, 2022 - 7 min read

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates nudged higher yesterday. Many had expected a fall in response to the Ukrainian situation. But that hasn’t materialized — as yet.

So far this morning, markets are signaling that mortgage rates today might rise. But that could change as the day progresses.

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed
Conventional 30 year fixed 4.161% 4.183% +0.04%
Conventional 15 year fixed
Conventional 15 year fixed 3.527% 3.563% +0.08%
Conventional 20 year fixed
Conventional 20 year fixed 4.021% 4.059% +0.03%
Conventional 10 year fixed
Conventional 10 year fixed 3.408% 3.47% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA
30 year fixed FHA 4.273% 5.04% +0.04%
15 year fixed FHA
15 year fixed FHA 3.741% 4.399% +0.06%
30 year fixed VA
30 year fixed VA 4.18% 4.391% +0.04%
15 year fixed VA
15 year fixed VA 3.348% 3.679% +0.13%
5/1 ARM VA
5/1 ARM VA 4.75% 3.833% 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.

Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

It’s beginning to look as if Russia’s invasion of Ukraine might barely affect mortgage rates. It may be that markets have already priced in the current situation. Read on for more details.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s moderate rise in those rates pretty much wiped out last week’s falls. Nobody can be certain that mortgage rates won’t soon fall in response to the Ukrainian crisis. But it’s currently looking less likely.

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

>Related: 7 Tips to get the best refinance rate

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 2.00% from 1.95%. (Bad for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were higher. (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 fell to $91.82 from $94.03 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
  • Gold prices decreased to $1,904 from $1,907 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 — inched up to 35 from 34 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 might move higher. However, 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.

A lot is going on at the moment. 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?

Yesterday was dominated by news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And it was a bad day for stock markets.

Now, that often translates into a good day for mortgage rates. Because, as investors sell risky shares, they typically buy gold and safer bonds, including mortgage bonds. Those are called mortgage-backed securities (MBSs).

The extra demand drives up bond prices. And yields and prices always move inversely. So yields fall, bringing lower mortgage rates with them.

But that didn’t happen yesterday. And it may or may not do so in the coming days of the Ukrainian crisis.

Inflation

Meanwhile, as I explained yesterday, the longer-term implications of that crisis are likely to be bad for mortgage rates. One of very few sources of revenue for Russia is its oil and natural gas sales. And western and Japanese sanctions may well end up targeting those.

Indeed, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has already announced he’s paused the implementation of Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline that could have doubled Germany’s imports of Russian natural gas.

If such sanctions lead to higher global oil prices, that would push inflation further upward. And inflation is bad for mortgage rates in its own right.

But there’s a second effect. Higher inflation would pile pressure on the Federal Reserve to withdraw pandemic-era stimulus measures even sooner than planned. And that, too, should push up mortgage rates.

Of course, mortgage rates have been rising quite sharply this year already. But, unless investors start buying large quantities of mortgage bonds, things could get even worse.

Uncertainty

The analysis I wrote above looks correct — at least to me. And it’s fairly widely accepted — with some minor quibbles.

But nobody can be certain what will happen to mortgage rates in the future. Indeed, last week, The New York Times (paywall) quoted Freddie Mac Chief Economist Douglas G. Duncan:

We know every forecast will be wrong.

I’m guessing he was talking about those rate forecasts you’ll find in the table, below. But other predictions are necessarily uncertain at the moment, too.

For a more detailed look at what’s happening to mortgage rates, read the latest weekend edition of this report.

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 that year, according to Freddie Mac.

The most recent weekly record low occurred on Jan. 7, 2021, 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 last September, the rises have grown more pronounced, though not consistently so. So far in 2022, rises have been appreciable and relatively consistent.

Freddie’s Feb. 17 report puts that weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 3.92% (with 0.8 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 3.69%.

Note that Freddie expects you to buy discount points (“with 0.8 fees and points”) on closing that earn you a lower rate. If you don’t do that, your rate would have been well over 4% that week, which is closer to the rates we and others quote.

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 four quarters of 2022 (Q1/22, Q2/22, Q3/22, Q4/22).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s were published on Feb. 18 and Freddie’s and the MBA’s on Jan. 21.

ForecasterQ1/22Q2/22Q3/22Q4/22
Fannie Mae3.5%3.6% 3.7%3.7%
Freddie Mac3.5%3.6% 3.7%3.7%
MBA3.3%3.5% 3.7%4.0%

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

Find your lowest rate today

You should comparison shop 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.