Mortgage and refinance rates today, May 23, 2022

May 23, 2022 - 7 min read

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates inched lower last Friday. Indeed, according to Mortgage News Daily’s figures, they barely moved over the whole week. Conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 5.35% last Friday evening, down from 5.38% seven days earlier.

So far this morning, it’s looking as if mortgage rates today might rise. But that could easily change in the coming hours.

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed
Conventional 30 year fixed 5.429% 5.454% Unchanged
Conventional 15 year fixed
Conventional 15 year fixed 4.578% 4.611% Unchanged
Conventional 20 year fixed
Conventional 20 year fixed 5.241% 5.277% +0.01%
Conventional 10 year fixed
Conventional 10 year fixed 4.595% 4.663% -0.01%
30 year fixed FHA
30 year fixed FHA 5.492% 6.229% Unchanged
15 year fixed FHA
15 year fixed FHA 4.743% 5.195% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA
30 year fixed VA 4.872% 5.084% Unchanged
15 year fixed VA
15 year fixed VA 4.834% 5.179% 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.

We’ve got used to mortgage rates starting a morning in one direction only to perform a screeching U-turn later in the day. And, last Friday, there were two such U-turns within a few hours. All this makes daily rate predictions highly unreliable.

I continue to think mortgage rates will resume their upward trend at some point soon. But I’m more likely to be wrong now than at any time in 2022. So you must base your decision about when to lock your rate on your own risk assessment.

Still, being cautious, 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 edged down to 2.82% from 2.84%. (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 $110.50 from $113.34 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a prominent role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
  • Gold rose to $1,854 from $1,838 an ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) It is generally 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 lower to 13 from 14 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 movement of less than $20 on gold prices or 40 cents on oil ones is a change of 1% or less. 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 rise. 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 broader 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 the coming hours, days, weeks or months.

Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?

You can understand why markets are in such turmoil. Investors hate uncertainty, and certainty is currently in shorter supply than baby formula.

And the uncertainty is across multiple fronts:

  1. Will the Federal Reserve cause a period of “stagflation,” when an economy has stagnant growth and high inflation?
  2. For how long will Russia’s war in Ukraine continue, stoking inflation with higher commodity prices?
  3. Will China be able to pull its economy out of a possible nose-dive?
  4. Has inflation peaked or is there worse to come?

Of course, investors are used to assessing and managing risk. But they’re usually looking at one or two factors. They’re especially spooked now because there are so many unknowable and interrelated questions. How will movement in one variable affect the others?

This Friday brings the month’s most important inflation report. And it might provide some insights that sway mortgage rates. But, in the meantime, those rates will likely continue to be buffeted by swings between optimism and pessimism.

In the meantime, this morning’s Financial Times ran a sobering story under the headline “Overdue reality check for Fed and markets has barely begun.” It continued, “Investors’ expectations that interest rates will not rise much may be very misguided.” If the FT’s right, there may be higher mortgage rates ahead.

Read the weekend edition of this daily article for more background.

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.

Rates then bumbled along, moving little for the following eight or nine months. But they began rising noticeably that September. Unfortunately, they’ve been mostly shooting up since the start of 2022.

Freddie’s May 19 report puts that same weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 5.25% (with 0.9 fees and points), down from the previous week’s 5.3%.

Note that Freddie expects you to buy discount points (“with 0.9 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 remaining three quarters of 2022 (Q2/22, Q3/22, Q4/22) and the first quarter of next year (Q1/23).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s were published on May 19, and the MBA’s on May 16. Freddie’s were released on Apr. 18, and it now updates its figures only quarterly.

Fannie Mae5.1%5.1% 5.1%5.1%
Freddie Mac4.8%4.8% 5.0%5.0%
MBA5.2%5.1% 5.0%5.0%

Of course, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts might 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.

Peter Warden
Authored By: Peter Warden

The Mortgage Reports Editor

Peter Warden has been writing for a decade about mortgages, personal finance, credit cards, and insurance. His work has appeared across a wide range of media. He lives in a small town with his partner of 25 years.