Mortgage and refinance rates today, March 15, 2022

Peter Warden
Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports Editor
March 15, 2022 - 7 min read

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates climbed steeply yesterday, piling on the pain for homebuyers. You have to go back 10 calendar days for the last decrease in those rates.

However, that might change today. Because early signs in markets suggest mortgage rates today might fall, probably modestly or moderately. But nothing’s certain in these unpredictable times.

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed
Conventional 30 year fixed 4.421% 4.445% +0.18%
Conventional 15 year fixed
Conventional 15 year fixed 3.644% 3.674% +0.05%
Conventional 20 year fixed
Conventional 20 year fixed 4.404% 4.435% +0.26%
Conventional 10 year fixed
Conventional 10 year fixed 3.621% 3.688% +0.06%
30 year fixed FHA
30 year fixed FHA 4.526% 5.319% +0.22%
15 year fixed FHA
15 year fixed FHA 3.943% 4.561% +0.12%
30 year fixed VA
30 year fixed VA 4.228% 4.436% -0.04%
15 year fixed VA
15 year fixed VA 3.755% 4.09% +0.26%
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, such as today. 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.

After so many rate rises, we’d generally be due one or more days of falls. So today’s not a surprise. But whether those decreases continue will likely depend on Federal Reserve events tomorrow afternoon (more on those below). And I reckon any decreases we see will probably make only small inroads into recent rises.

So, 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 yesterday, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes fell to 2.08% from 2.09%. (Good 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 $96.52 from $102.71 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 $1,927 from $1,965 an ounce. (Good 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 higher to 17 from 16 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 lower. 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?

The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) begins a two-day meeting today. It sets the central bank’s monetary policy and controls its interest rates and asset holdings. And investors take its pronouncements exceedingly seriously.

Tomorrow, at 2 p.m. (ET), the FOMC will publish a critical report. And, 30 minutes later, Fed Chair Jerome Powell will host a news conference. What’s said or written then could easily move mortgage rates. Indeed, they’ve already been moving in anticipation of those events.

Mr. Powell has already told Congress and the world what to expect:

  1. A hike in its federal funds rate of 0.25%, which will push up the cost of almost all variable-rate borrowing. Expect several more similar or larger hikes this year and next
  2. More information about the Fed’s thinking about how it will sell its stockpile of assets. But Mr. Powell recently said detailed plans for those sales are unlikely to be ready tomorrow

Both those measures are likely to add upward pressure to mortgage rates in the medium term. But what happens to those rates tomorrow will depend on the tone as well as the content of tomorrow’s report and news conference.

Tomorrow

If Mr. Powell comes across as determined to tackle inflation almost regardless of the economic consequences (“hawkish”) then higher rates are possible straight away. But if he hints that the Fed might dilute its plans if such consequences include a recession, he’ll be seen as “dovish.” And we could see a fall tomorrow afternoon.

Today, investors will be laying bets on what Mr. Powell says tomorrow. And yesterday The Wall Street Journal (paywall) reflected on his dilemma:

For the Federal Reserve, the hits driving inflation keep piling up. Escalating sanctions by the West to punish Russia for its war against Ukraine are driving fears that an episode of increased inflation, already at its highest levels in 40 years, will become harder to wring out of the U.S. economy without a recession.

For more background, read the weekend edition of this daily article, published last Saturday.

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.