Mortgage and refinance rates today, Oct. 15, and rate forecast for next week

October 15, 2022 - 7 min read

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates rose yesterday. And they did so over the short week, though more modestly than they sometimes have recently. Still, those rates start today at a new 20-year high.

Forecasts for the week ahead remain as impossible as they have for several months. Flipping a coin will give you as reliable a guide to mortgage rates over the next seven days as I can.

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed
Conventional 30 year fixed 7.24% 7.272% +0.12%
Conventional 15 year fixed
Conventional 15 year fixed 6.601% 6.639% +0.13%
Conventional 20 year fixed
Conventional 20 year fixed 7.198% 7.258% -0.13%
Conventional 10 year fixed
Conventional 10 year fixed 5.85% 6.061% -0.45%
30 year fixed FHA
30 year fixed FHA 6.984% 7.697% -0.17%
15 year fixed FHA
15 year fixed FHA 7.013% 7.289% +0.02%
30 year fixed VA
30 year fixed VA 6.75% 6.982% Unchanged
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.

Volatility may mean I’m unable to forecast where mortgage rates will move next week. But the longer term is clearer, though not certain. I doubt those rates will fall far — at least for long — until sometime in 2023.

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

However, with so much uncertainty at the moment, your instincts could easily turn out to be as good as mine — or better. So let your gut and your own tolerance for risk help guide you.

What’s moving current mortgage rates

Mortgage rates are largely determined by the yields on a type of bond called the mortgage-backed security (MBS). And those yields — which move inversely to MBS prices — are very sensitive to changes in the economic outlook.

So, when investors are worried about that outlook, they tend to buy “safe” bonds as they flee riskier investments. That pushes the price of MBSs up, which sends yields and mortgage rates lower. The opposite usually happens when those investors are confident about the future.

There’s another big influence on MBSs. And that’s inflation. When you buy any bond, you’re buying a fixed income, often over many years. So, you’re nervous about high inflation, which might eat up all your profits and then some. You might also look at rapidly rising yields and ask, “Why would I buy a bond with a 2% yield now when I look likely to get 3% in a few months’ time?”

So that’s the theory of how mortgage rates are set. But how’s the current economy affecting them?

Resilient economy

Reporting yesterday’s quarterly results from megabank JPMorgan Chase, The Wall Street Journal (paywall) ran the headline, “JPMorgan Chase Earnings Show Economy Is Resilient, but [CEO] Jamie Dimon’s ‘Hurricane’ Looms.”

The article explained about the wider financial sector: “The banks sit smack in the middle of an uncertain economy. Inflation is near its highest level in decades and the Federal Reserve is trying to curb it by rapidly lifting rates. That is making loans more expensive, putting pressure on Americans on multiple fronts. Investors worry that the higher interest rates will eventually tip the U.S. into recession.”

And that’s where we are now. The economy’s holding up surprisingly well. But there’s a real possibility of a recession. Normally, that would provide the prospect of rates moderating if and when that recession arrives. But there’s more to this story ...

Inflation and the Fed

In normal times, the Federal Reserve would intervene when a recession looms, cutting interest rates and perhaps buying bonds. Those moves would typically help drive mortgage rates lower.

But, right now, the Fed is obsessed with taming inflation, partly because it’s embarrassed by its role in letting price increases grow to their current levels. And it’s made crystal clear that it has no intention of backing off its plans to rein in rising prices, no matter how painful any resulting recession.

Some market players seem convinced that the Fed will cave and pivot if a recession gets bad enough. But I’m not so sure. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has repeatedly said he regards one of his predecessors, Paul Volker, as a hero for fighting inflation by hiking rates during a terrible recession. Here’s what happened then, according to FederalReserveHistory.org:

“Prior to the 2007-09 recession, the 1981-82 recession was the worst economic downturn in the United States since the Great Depression. Indeed, the nearly 11 percent unemployment rate reached late in 1982 remains the apex of the post-World War II era. ... Three-fourths of all job losses in the goods-producing sector were in manufacturing, and the residential construction industry and auto manufacturers ended the year with 22 percent and 24 percent unemployment, respectively.”

Mr. Powell may see even a recession of historic proportions next year as an opportunity to emulate his hero.

Recessions and mortgage rates

If that turns out to be the case, mortgage rates may remain elevated throughout any 2023 recession. The Fed directly determines most interest rates, but not mortgage rates. However, its policies certainly influence MBS yields.

Now, in theory, it’s possible for mortgage rates to fall while the Fed is hiking other rates. So none of us can be certain about anything.

However, Freddie Mac’s archives show mortgage rates averaging 16.63% in 1981 and 16.04% in 1982, when Mr. Volker was hiking other, general interest rates during a ghastly recession. So I’m not holding my breath while I wait for a recession to make mortgages more affordable.

And, in my opinion, significant and sustained falls in mortgage rates are unlikely until well into 2023.

Economic reports next week

This week was crammed with economic reports and events that might have moved mortgage rates. However, next week provides a bit of a respite. And reports over the coming seven days are unlikely to have much impact unless they contain shockingly good or bad data.

  • Tuesday — September’s industrial production index and capacity utilization rate. Plus the home builders’ index for October from the National Association of Home Builders
  • Wednesday — September building permits and housing starts
  • Thursday — September existing home sales and leading economic indicators. Plus weekly new claims for unemployment insurance to Oct.15
  • Friday — Third quarter indexes of common inflation expectations for the coming five and 10 years

If there are sharp movements in mortgage rates next week, they’re unlikely to be triggered by these usually innocuous reports.

However, you might want to keep an eye on events in the United Kingdom, where a new and inexperienced government has unleashed economic and political mayhem through its radical policies. If it manages to regain the markets’ confidence, mortgage rates might move lower. But if it fails to do that (and there’s a chance the prime minister could be forced to resign), those rates may rise.

Mortgage interest rates forecast for next week

Longer-term forecasts for mortgage rates can be based on where the economy is heading. And daily ones have the benefit of each morning’s market performance. But weekly ones lack any such insights. And current volatility and unpredictability make weekly forecasts impossible.

Sorry! I’ll reinstate them just as soon as I can.

How your mortgage interest rate is determined

Mortgage and refinance rates are generally determined by prices in a secondary market (similar to the stock or bond markets) where mortgage-backed securities are traded.

And that’s highly dependent on the economy. So mortgage rates tend to be high when things are going well and low when the economy’s in trouble. But inflation rates can undermine those tendencies.

Your part

But you play a big part in determining your own mortgage rate in five ways. And you can affect it significantly by:

  1. Shopping around for your best mortgage rate — They vary widely from lender to lender
  2. Boosting your credit score — Even a small bump can make a big difference to your rate and payments
  3. Saving the biggest down payment you can — Lenders like you to have real skin in this game
  4. Keeping your other borrowing modest — The lower your other monthly commitments, the bigger the mortgage you can afford
  5. Choosing your mortgage carefully — Are you better off with a conventional, conforming, FHA, VA, USDA, jumbo or another loan?

Time spent getting these ducks in a row can see you winning lower rates.

Remember, they’re not just a mortgage rate

Be sure to count all your forthcoming homeownership costs when you’re working out how big a mortgage you can afford. So, focus on your “PITI.” That’s your Principal (pays down the amount you borrowed), Interest (the price of borrowing), (property) Taxes, and (homeowners) Insurance. Our mortgage calculator can help with these.

Depending on your type of mortgage and the size of your down payment, you may have to pay mortgage insurance, too. And that can easily run into three figures every month.

But there are other potential costs. So you’ll have to pay homeowners association dues if you choose to live somewhere with an HOA. And, wherever you live, you should expect repairs and maintenance costs. There’s no landlord to call when things go wrong!

Finally, you’ll find it hard to forget closing costs. You can see those reflected in the annual percentage rate (APR) that lenders will quote you. Because that effectively spreads them out over your loan’s term, making that higher than your straight mortgage rate.

But you may be able to get help with those closing costs and your down payment, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. Read:

Down payment assistance programs in every state for 2021

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 result is a good snapshot of daily rates and how they change over time.

Peter Warden
Authored By: Peter Warden

The Mortgage Reports Editor|User role

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.