Mortgage and refinance rates today, Sep. 21, 2022

Peter Warden
Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports Editor
September 21, 2022 - 7 min read

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates moved moderately higher yesterday. And those for conforming, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages are now so close to 6.5% that they’re effectively there.

Unusually, I'm not going to provide a forecast for mortgage rates today. That’s because so much could change this afternoon at a pivotal Federal Reserve event that anything I say this morning would be pure guesswork. Read on for details.

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed
Conventional 30 year fixed 6.474% 6.505% +0.07%
Conventional 15 year fixed
Conventional 15 year fixed 5.879% 5.913% +0.22%
Conventional 20 year fixed
Conventional 20 year fixed 6.766% 6.825% +0.01%
Conventional 10 year fixed
Conventional 10 year fixed 5.758% 5.875% +0.11%
30 year fixed FHA
30 year fixed FHA 6.328% 7.106% +0.05%
15 year fixed FHA
15 year fixed FHA 6.379% 6.872% +0.28%
30 year fixed VA
30 year fixed VA 6.044% 6.272% -0.01%
15 year fixed VA
15 year fixed VA 6.125% 6.483% 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.

Unless the Federal Reserve makes a historic U-turn this afternoon (which is highly unlikely), I doubt mortgage rates will fall far or for long until well into 2023. Indeed, there is, in my view, a better chance of further rises.

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 fell back to 3.54% from 3.58%. (Good for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were rising soon after opening. (Sometimes 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 increased to $85.09 from $84.42 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a prominent role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
  • Gold prices edged lower to $1,682 from $1,669 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 higher to 39 from 38 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 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 are unpredictable. 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?

I laid out yesterday the likely consequences of today’s main Federal Reserve activities. They are the product of a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which is the Fed’s monetary policy body. The FOMC meets eight times every year.

This afternoon’s activity comes in two waves. The first is at 2 p.m. (ET) and is the publication of the Fed’s report. This will contain the:

  • Size of today’s rate hike — a 75-basis-point (0.75%) one may not by itself change mortgage rates much. But a less-likely 100-basis-point (1%) one may well send those rates higher
  • Forecasts for future interest rate levels from the people who set those rates (the “dot plot”) — This morning’s Financial Times said, “Officials’ projections [are] also expected to show [a] ‘higher for longer’ policy approach.” If that turns out to be right, expect higher mortgage rates

The second wave of Fed activity comprises a news conference hosted by Fed Chair Jerome Powell at 2:30 p.m. (ET). And investors will hang on Mr. Powell’s every word and listen for nuances in the content and delivery of what he says.

If he ramps up expectations for how aggressive (“hawkish,” in Wall Street jargon) the Fed is likely to be over future rate hikes, mortgage rates could rise. But, if he plays down that aggression, those rates might fall.

What I think might happen

Of course, nobody knows what the Fed report will contain nor what Mr. Powell will say. But, if I had to bet, I’d back a:

  1. 75-basis-point (0.75%) hike
  2. “Higher for longer” rates policy, as forecast by the FT
  3. Holding of the hawkish line by Mr. Powell, who’s shown no appetite for U-turns so far this year

If I’m right, we may see upward pressure on mortgage rates this afternoon. But we all hope I’m wrong.

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.

Freddie’s Sep. 15 report put that same weekly average for conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 6.02% (with 0.8 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 5.89%. Little of that Tuesday’s big rise is likely to be reflected in Freddie’s latest report.

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 — updated today

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 two quarters of 2022 (Q3/22, Q4/22) and the first two quarters of next year (Q1/23, Q2/23).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s forecast appeared on Sep. 21 and the MBA’s on Sep. 20. Freddie’s came out around Jul. 21. But it now releases forecasts only quarterly. So, its figures soon turn stale.

Fannie Mae5.4%5.7% 5.7%5.6%
Freddie Mac5.5%5.4% 5.2%5.2%
MBA5.5%5.5% 5.3%5.3%

Of course, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts might be even more speculative than usual. And their past record for accuracy hasn’t been wildly impressive. Personally, I think they’re too optimistic.

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.