Curve

Mortgage and refinance rates today, October 26, 2020

Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports editor

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates inched higher last Friday, but only by the smallest measurable amount. And conventional loans today start at 3.188% (3.188% APR) for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. 

This morning, things were looking better for rates as markets responded to record COVID-19 infection figures and began to lose hope for a preelection stimulus package.

Find and lock a low rate (Oct 26th, 2020)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed
Conventional 30 year fixed 3.188% 3.188% -0.06%
Conventional 15 year fixed
Conventional 15 year fixed 3.125% 3.125% Unchanged
Conventional 5 year ARM
Conventional 5 year ARM 3% 2.743% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA
30 year fixed FHA 2.25% 3.226% Unchanged
15 year fixed FHA
15 year fixed FHA 2.25% 3.191% Unchanged
5 year ARM FHA
5 year ARM FHA 2.5% 3.245% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA
30 year fixed VA 3.125% 3.305% Unchanged
15 year fixed VA
15 year fixed VA 2.25% 2.571% Unchanged
5 year ARM VA
5 year ARM VA 2.5% 2.426% Unchanged
Your rate might be different. Click here for a personalized rate quote. See our rate assumptions here.

Find and lock a low rate (Oct 26th, 2020)


COVID-19 mortgage updates: Mortgage lenders are changing rates and rules due to COVID-19. To see the latest on how coronavirus could impact your home loan, click here.

Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

For more than a week, markets have been hoping for stimulus measures to be enacted before Election Day. Was that ever a realistic expectation? It’s not looking that way now.

Late last Friday, various key figures in the administration played down the likelihood of a legislative deal. And only the most optimistic now hold out much hope.

That might be a downer for markets today, which could be good news for mortgage rates. But don’t expect dramatic falls, though they may be appreciable. Investors have become expert at hyping the merest hint of good news and shrugging off almost everything bad.

If that weren’t the case, they’d have been more worried earlier about the latest surge in COVID-19 infections, which have been rising for a while. Last Friday and Saturday each saw more than 83,000 Americans testing positive for the coronavirus, a grim record peak. We may finally be seeing a response to that this morning.

This second wave in the pandemic is further advanced in western Europe and its economic effects are already being felt there. Last Friday, the French finance minister said he thought his economy was probably already shrinking. That would be the second part of a double-dip recession.

Why would anyone not expect our economy to take a similar hit? If it does, that would be bad for everyone — except those hoping for lower mortgage rates.

So my personal recommendations remain:

  • LOCK if closing in 7 days
  • LOCK if closing in 15 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 30 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 45 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 60 days

But, with so much uncertainty at the moment, your instincts could easily turn out to be as good as mine — or better. So be guided by your gut and your personal tolerance for risk.

Compare top refinance lenders

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Purchase Refinance

Market data affecting today’s mortgage rates 

Here’s the state of play this morning at about 9:50 a.m. (ET). The data, compared with about the same time last Friday morning, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasurys tumbled to 0.81% from 0.86%. (Good for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields, though less so recently
  • Major stock indexes were sharply lower on opening. (Good 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 happens when indexes are lower
  • Oil prices fell to $38.82 from $40.60 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates* because energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.) 
  • Gold prices inched down to $1,905 from $1,909 an ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) In general, it’s 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 We’re still having trouble accessing this web page. See if you have more luck.  “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 a matter of cents on oil ones is a fraction of 1%. So we only count meaningful differences as good or bad for mortgage 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. The Fed is now a huge player and some days can overwhelm investor sentiment.

So use markets only as a rough guide. They have to be exceptionally strong (rates are likely to rise) or weak (they could fall) to rely on them. Today, they’re looking good for mortgage rates.

Find and lock a low rate (Oct 26th, 2020)

Important notes on today’s mortgage rates

Here are some things you need to know:

  1. The Fed’s ongoing interventions in the mortgage market (way over $1 trillion) should put continuing downward pressure on these rates. But it can’t work miracles all the time. So expect short-term rises as well as falls. And read “For once, the Fed DOES affect mortgage rates. Here’s why” if you want to understand this aspect of what’s happening
  2. 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
  3. Only “top-tier” borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you’ll see advertised
  4. Lenders vary. Yours may or may not follow the crowd when it comes to rate movements — though they all usually follow the wider trend over time
  5. When rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
  6. Refinance rates are typically close to those for purchases. But some types of refinances from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are currently appreciably higher following a regulatory change

So there’s a lot going on here. And nobody can claim to know with certainty what’s going to happen to mortgage rates in coming hours, days, weeks or months.

Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?

Over the last few months, the overall trend for mortgage rates has clearly been downward. A new all-time low was set early in August and we’ve gotten close to others since. Indeed, Freddie Mac said that a new low was set during each of the weeks ending Oct. 15 and 22.

But not every mortgage expert agrees with Freddie’s figures. And certainty is in very short supply at the moment. So don’t assume anything.

It all depends on countless variables, most of which are unknowable.

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 rates forecasts for the last quarter of 2020 (Q4/20) and the first three of 2021 (Q1/21, Q2/21 and Q3/21).

Note that Fannie’s (out on Oct. 19) and the MBA’s (Oct. 21) are updated monthly. However, Freddie’s are now published quarterly. Its latest was released on Oct. 14.

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages:

ForecasterQ4/20Q1/21Q2/21Q3/21
Fannie Mae2.9%2.8%2.8%2.8%
Freddie Mac3.0%3.0%3.0%3.0%
MBA3.0%3.1%3.1%3.2%

So predictions vary considerably. You pays yer money …

Find your lowest rate today

The pandemic — together with a surge in home sales and mortgage and refinance applications — has created some turmoil in the home loans industry.

And that’s made it harder for some borrowers to find the sorts of mortgages they need. So be prepared to shop around even more widely than usual.

But, of course, comparison shopping for a loan is always important. 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.

Verify your new rate (Oct 26th, 2020)

Compare top refinance lenders

Refine results by loan type:
Purchase Refinance

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.