Mortgage rates today, Mar. 9, and rate forecast for next week

March 9, 2024 - 6 min read

Today’s mortgage rates

Average mortgage rates fell moderately yesterday for the fourth consecutive day. So, it’s been a good week for those rates, and they’re now appreciably lower than they were seven days ago.

Whether that happy experience extends into next week will likely depend almost entirely on Tuesday’s inflation report, the consumer price index (CPI) for February. So, yet again, I’m forced to say mortgage rates next week could go either way. Ask me again late on Tuesday morning.

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Current mortgage and refinance rates

ProgramMortgage RateAPR*Change
30-year fixed VA
30-year fixed VA 6.787% 6.833% -0.29
30-year fixed FHA
30-year fixed FHA 6.74% 6.787% -0.24
Conventional 15-year fixed
Conventional 15-year fixed 6.406% 6.485% -0.03
Conventional 10-year fixed
Conventional 10-year fixed 6.295% 6.375% -0.01
Conventional 30-year fixed
Conventional 30-year fixed 6.935% 6.985% -0.03
Conventional 20-year fixed
Conventional 20-year fixed 6.651% 6.708% -0.08
5/1 ARM Conventional
5/1 ARM Conventional 6.592% 7.807% +0.13
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 See our rate assumptions here.
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Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

I think it unlikely that the last couple of rate-friendly weeks are the start of the sustained downward trend in mortgage rates that I’ve been predicting for months. However, if next Tuesday’s CPI report turns out to be exceptionally good for those rates, I just might be proved wrong.

But I doubt it. So, my personal rate lock recommendations are now:

  • 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

This week

The economic data published earlier this week suggested that economic growth is slowing at just the right rate. Mortgage rate watchers would like to see it cooling but not enough to trigger a recession.

Typically mortgage rates tend to be lower when the economy is struggling or at least not running too hot.

Some indicators this week pointed to continuing resilience, including the headline figure in yesterday’s jobs report. However, that was balanced out by a very large downward revision to the previous month’s number, and by the report’s other major components being friendly to mortgage rates

Next week’s CPI

So much depends on next Tuesday’s CPI. Only the jobs report rivals its ability to move mortgage rates so far and for so long.

As usual, we want lower numbers on the day than markets are expecting. Wall Street will already have priced into mortgage rates the consensus forecasts. So, it’s the gap between expectations and reality that changes those rates.

There are four main items in the CPI report:

  1. All-items CPI — The amount by which the prices of all surveyed items moved in February. Called just CPI
  2. Core CPI — The all-items CPI after volatile food and energy prices have been stripped out, revealing underlying inflation in February
  3. YOY CPI — The year-over-year CPI will reveal how all surveyed items moved between Mar. 1, 2023 and Feb. 29, 2024
  4. YOY core CPI — The year-over-year core CPI will reveal how all surveyed prices for items excluding food and energy moved between Mar. 1, 2023 and Feb. 29, 2024

Here’s what’s currently expected, according to MarketWatch, for the upcoming February report:

  • February CPI — Markets are expecting prices for all items to have risen by 0.4%. (0.3% in January report)
  • February core CPI — Markets are expecting prices for all items excluding those for food and energy to have risen by 0.3%. (0.4% in January report)
  • YOY CPI — Markets are expecting prices for all items to have risen by 3.1% between Mar. 1, 2023 and Feb. 29, 2024. (3.1% in January report)
  • YOY core CPI — Markets are expecting prices for all items excluding those for food and energy to have risen by 3.7% between Mar. 1, 2023 and Feb. 29, 2024. (3.9% in January report)

Remember, mortgage rates are more likely to fall if actual figures are lower than the expected ones.

Other important reports next week

The other economic reports are much less likely to move mortgage rates far or for long. But those most likely to do so, in rough order of importance, are:

  • February retail sales on Thursday — Expected to rise by +0.7% compared to January’s -0.8%
  • February producer price index (PPI) on Thursday — Expected to hold steady at 0.3%. This measures wholesale and factory-gate prices so changes may turn up in later CPIs
  • February industrial production on Friday — Expected to rise to 0.0% from a negative in January. Also, capacity utilization, which is expected to inch lower compared to January
  • February import price index (IPI) on Wednesday — Expected to fall to 0.3% from January’s 0.8%. This measures price changes in foreign-sourced goods and services

Of those, retail sales and the PPI are most likely to affect mortgage rates. But even they rarely move them far or for long.

The Fed

Wall Street currently views most economic reports through the prism of how they’ll affect the Federal Reserve’s decisions on when it will start cutting general interest rates and how often it will do so after that.

That’s why The Wall Street Journal (paywall) yesterday greeted the jobs report with the headline, “Hiring Boom Continues, but Signs of a Cooling Labor Market Boost Rate-Cut Hopes.” In the article beneath it said:

“The Goldilocks report lends credence to the Federal Reserve’s outlook that somewhat lower interest rates could be warranted later this year, potentially providing a boost to markets that have been on a tear to start 2024.

“Bill Adams, chief economist at Comerica Bank, summed up Friday’s report with one word: cool. ‘That’s what the Fed wants to see right now,’ he said.

The Fed will next decide on rate policy on Mar. 20. Very few expect it to cut general interest rates that day. But Wall Street hopes it will strongly hint at cuts at the May or June meetings of its rate-setting committee.

Economic reports next week

See above for details about the more important economic reports next week.

In the following list of next week’s reports, only those in bold typically have the potential to affect mortgage rates appreciably. The others probably won’t have much impact unless they contain shockingly good or bad data.

  • Monday — Nothing
  • Tuesday — February consumer price index. Also small business optimism index for the same month
  • Wednesday — Nothing
  • Thursday — February retail sales. Plus February producer price index. And initial jobless claims for the week ending Mar. 9
  • Friday — February industrial production and capacity utilization. Also, the February import price index

With the consumer price index, Tuesday is make-or-break day.

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Mortgage rates forecast for next week

I hate not giving rate forecasts for the following week. But this is the third consecutive Saturday on which I really can’t.

Nobody knows what Tuesday’s CPI will say. And that’s very likely to determine how mortgage rates will move over the next seven days.

How your mortgage interest rate is determined

A bond market generally determines mortgage and refinance rates. It’s the one where trading in mortgage-backed securities takes place.

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 something called you “PITI.” That stands for:

  • Principal — Pays down the amount you borrowed
  • Interest — The price of borrowing
  • Taxes — Specifically property taxes
  • Insurance — Specifically 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 rate 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 2023

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
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.