Mortgage and refinance rates today, March 14, 2022

Peter Warden
Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports Editor
March 14, 2022 - 7 min read

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates just inched higher last Friday. But they continue to be at their highest level in almost three years. Still, if you look back much further than three years, they remain exceptionally low.

So far this morning, it’s looking as if mortgage rates today might rise again. But there’s an awful lot of uncertainty around.

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed
Conventional 30 year fixed 4.24% 4.262% Unchanged
Conventional 15 year fixed
Conventional 15 year fixed 3.592% 3.626% Unchanged
Conventional 20 year fixed
Conventional 20 year fixed 4.138% 4.175% Unchanged
Conventional 10 year fixed
Conventional 10 year fixed 3.567% 3.629% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA
30 year fixed FHA 4.308% 5.097% Unchanged
15 year fixed FHA
15 year fixed FHA 3.779% 4.439% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA
30 year fixed VA 4.264% 4.476% Unchanged
15 year fixed VA
15 year fixed VA 3.5% 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?

Don't lock on a day when mortgage rates look set to fall. My recommendations (below) are intended to give longer-term suggestions about the overall direction of those rates. So, they don’t change daily to reflect fleeting sentiments in volatile markets.

Even when they’re climbing over the long term, we’ll inevitably see periods when those rates dip. And there’s a chance we could see some of those in the coming days or weeks if a new pessimism in markets persists.

But there’s only a chance of that. And cautious borrowers might still prefer to lock quickly rather than rely on maybes.

And my personal rate lock recommendations for the longer term 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 last Friday, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes climbed to 2.09% from 2.02%. (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 soon 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 fell to $102.71 from $107.56 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 $1,965 from $1,977 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 — held steady at 16 out of 100. (Neutral 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 will happen to mortgage rates in coming hours, days, weeks or months.

Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?

In the weekend edition of this daily article, published last Saturday, I went through a conventional explanation of why I think mortgage rates will probably continue rising. But the mood in the financial press has changed over the last 48 hours or so.

And I’m reading much more pessimism about the possible economic impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the global economy. Some recent stories include:

  • “Russian Airstrike at NATO’s Doorstep Raises Fears of Expanded War,” New York Times (paywall)
  • “War is exacerbating food prices and shortages abroad, especially for food insecure nations,” Washington Post (paywall)
  • “Russia threatens to make external debt payments in rubles,” Guardian
  • “Oil price shock jolts global recovery as economic impact of Russia’s invasion spreads,” Washington Post (paywall)
  • “Investors Dash to Haven Assets During Ukraine Crisis Market Turmoil,” Wall Street Journal (paywall)

For now, that last headline is the most important for mortgage rates. Investors who are spooked by market turmoil are beginning to turn to gold, bonds and other safe-haven assets as they fear the consequences of the war in Ukraine. And, if that sentiment persists, we might see lower mortgage rates.

That’s because a popular form of bond is the mortgage-backed security (MBS). And if enough investors start buying them, mortgage rates should fall. But, obviously, that effect is yet to kick in.

Back to the Fed

Might it soon? It’s possible. But oil and other commodity prices driven higher by the war are having the opposite effect. They will fuel inflation and might push the Federal Reserve to act more aggressively to contain higher prices.

And one of its first measures could be to sell its enormous stockpile of MBSs more quickly. That extra supply of MBSs could mop up the new demand and then some. Which would push mortgage rates higher.

So we’re back to a battle of two conflicting forces. If things get bad enough to cause a global recession (as Goldman Sachs thinks it may), the Fed may be forced to back off on its rate hikes and sales of MBSs, which could see mortgage rates fall. But if the Fed continues its laser focus on containing inflation, they might rise further.

We may know more on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. (ET) when the Fed holds a news conference to discuss just such issues. But it’s perfectly possible that even it is unsure how to proceed.

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, the rises have grown more pronounced since last September, though not consistently so.

Freddie’s March 10 report puts that weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 3.85%% (with 0.8 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 3.76%. But that won’t have counted most of the sharp rises on that Tuesday and Wednesday.

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 be closer to the ones 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 the MBA’s on Feb. 25. But Freddie now publishes these forecasts every quarter, most recently 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%
MBA3.8%4.0% 4.1%4.3%

Note that those figures were issued before Russia invaded Ukraine. 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.

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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.