Mortgage rate forecast for next week (March 20-24)
The collapses of Silicon Valley Bank and New York’s Signature Bank created some economic uncertainty and interest rates fell after five straight weeks of growth.
The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage (FRM) declined from 6.73% on March 9 to 6.6% on March 16, according to Freddie Mac.
“Turbulence in the financial markets is putting significant downward pressure on rates, which should benefit borrowers in the short-term. During times of high mortgage rate volatility, home buyers would greatly benefit from shopping for additional rate quotes. Our research concludes that homebuyers can potentially save $600 to $1,200 annually by taking the time to shop among multiple lenders,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.
In this article (Skip to...)
- Will rates go down in March?
- 90-day forecast
- Expert rate predictions
- Mortgage rate trends
- Rates by loan type
- Mortgage strategies for March
- Mortgage rates FAQ
Will mortgage rates go down in March?
Mortgage rates fluctuated greatly in 2022. The average 30-year fixed rate went as low as 3.22% on Jan. 6 and reached a high-water mark of 7.08% on Nov. 10, according to Freddie Mac.
The year’s big rate movements can be attributed largely to the Federal Reserve’s aggressive actions to help combat decades-high inflation. However, with inflation starting to cool, the Fed eased its foot off the gas in February and is expected to make smaller rate hikes in 2023.
With the economy likely heading into a recession, it’s possible we’ve already seen the peak of this rate cycle. Of course, interest rates are notoriously volatile and could tick back up on any given week.
Experts from CJ Patrick Company, First American, Mortgage Bankers Association, and others weigh in on whether 30-year mortgage rates will climb, fall, or level off in March.
Expert mortgage rate predictions for March
Ralph DiBugnara, president at Home Qualified
Prediction: Rates will moderate
“The Fed seems to be leaning toward raising 50 basis points again next meeting, with fear of continued high inflation rising. It is not slowing down as fast as they had predicted. With that being said I believe the 30-year fixed rates will hold around 6.5% and 15-year fixed somewhere around 5.875% until we see some significant reduction in the inflation numbers.”
Nadia Evangelou, senior economist & director of forecasting at the National Association of Realtors
Prediction: Rates will rise
“Mortgage rates will continue to be above the 6% threshold in March. While investors expected the Federal Reserve to slow down on rate hikes, recent strong economic data suggests that there may be additional hikes this year. Jobs are at record highs, the unemployment rate is near record lows, inflation is exceeding expectations, and strong retail sales show that people continue to spend despite borrowing costs.
Thus, upcoming inflation data and Fed’s next rate hike are the two main factors that will drive mortgage rates in March. If inflation drops below expectations, this could help mortgage rates to hover in the low range of 6%.”
Selma Hepp, chief economist at Corelogic
Prediction: Rates will rise
“Unfortunately, recent inflation readings suggested that taming inflation may be more difficult than some anticipated. The Fed will persist on its course of further tightening and is unlikely to start lowering interest rates until late 2023, which brought mortgage rates down since the November peak. As a result, we may see mortgage rates creeping back up and remaining above 6.5% throughout the spring.”
Odeta Kushi, deputy chief economist at First American
Prediction: Rates will moderate
“Mortgage rates may bounce around until the market has more clarity about the outlook for inflation. While there is reason to believe that inflation will subside in months to come, strong employment gains and a resilient consumer have markets spooked that inflation will persist, thereby requiring the Federal Reserve to remain restrictive for longer. The March FOMC meeting will provide some insight into the Fed’s path on interest rate hikes. If incoming data points to softening inflation and the Fed doesn’t turn more hawkish in March, mortgage rates may moderate.”
George Ratiu, senior economist at Realtor.com
Prediction: Rates will moderate
“Mortgage rates are going to move up and down in a 6% - 7% range over the next few weeks, in response to several macro factors, including the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, economic performance and inflation. Rates crested 7% in October and November of last year, following inflation running at a 40-year high and the Fed’s aggressive rate hikes to combat it. Since then, we have seen rates glide toward 6% until a couple of weeks ago when they rebounded.
The zig-zagging movement of mortgage rates is a reflection of an underlying tension between financial market expectations and economic data which continues to highlight resilience. Investors have been expecting the economy to fall into a recession for the past eight months, in response to the Fed’s rate hikes. At the same time, a strong job market and rising wages have pushed retail sales higher, and maintained consumer spending as a driving engine of economic growth.”
Rick Sharga, president and CEO at CJ Patrick Company
Prediction: Rates will rise
“While they may not surpass the peak rates we saw in November, when most mortgages had interest rates above 7%, it seems likely that March 30-year loans will have rates close to that, probably staying between 6.5-7.0%. This doesn’t bode well for the Spring homebuying season, as these higher rates will strain affordability for buyers, and discourage homeowners with lower mortgage rates from listing their homes for sale.
The main culprit is inflation, which isn’t coming down as quickly or dramatically as the Federal Reserve hoped. Coupled with stronger-than-anticipated jobs reports, this probably means that the Fed will raise the Fed Funds Rate again, and need to keep it elevated longer than the market had anticipated. Further complicating things is that there’s been a recent surge in yields on U.S. Treasuries, with the 10-year bond flirting with a 4% yield, making a drop in mortgage rates more unlikely.”
Mortgage interest rates forecast next 90 days
As inflation ran rampant in 2022, the Federal Reserve took action to bring it down and that led to big interest rate growth. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage more than doubled within the course of the year.
As inflation gradually cools, the size of the Fed’s rate hikes are coming down. Additionally, the likelihood of a recession has many experts believing mortgage interest rates will move within a tighter range compared to the spikes we saw in early 2022.
Of course, rates could rise on any given week or if another global event causes widespread uncertainty in the economy.
Mortgage rate predictions for early 2023
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.6% as of March 16, according to Freddie Mac. Only two of the six major housing authorities we looked at projected 2023’s first quarter average to finish above that.
Fannie Mae and Wells Fargo sit at the low end of the group, predicting the average 30-year fixed interest rate to settle at 6.1% and 6.3%, respectively, for Q1. Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors and National Association of Home Builders had the highest forecasts of 6.7% and 7.16%.
|Housing Authority||30-Year Mortgage Rate Forecast (Q1 2023)|
|Mortgage Bankers Association||6.40%|
|National Association of Realtors||6.70%|
|National Association of Home Builders||7.16%|
Current mortgage interest rate trends
Mortgage rates declined following five consecutive weeks of gains, as two bank collapses stirred uncertainty in the financial sector.
The 30-year fixed rate dropped from 6.73% on March 9 to 6.6% on March 16. The average 15-year fixed mortgage rate also fell, going from 5.95% to 5.9%.
|Month||Average 30-Year Fixed Rate|
Source: Freddie Mac
Mortgage rates moved on from the record-low territory seen in 2020 and 2021 and hit a 14-year high in 2022. However, they followed a downward trajectory in December and are still below average from a historical perspective.
Dating back to April 1971, the fixed 30-year interest rate averaged around 7.8%, according to Freddie Mac. So if you haven’t locked a rate yet, don’t lose too much sleep over it. You can still get a good deal, historically speaking — especially if you’re a borrower with strong credit.
Just make sure you shop around to find the best lender and lowest rate for your unique situation.
Mortgage rate trends by loan type
Many mortgage shoppers don’t realize there are different types of rates in today’s mortgage market. But this knowledge can help home buyers and refinancing households find the best value for their situation.
Following are 3-month mortgage rate trends for the most popular types of home loans: conventional, FHA, VA, and jumbo.
|January 2023||December 2022||November 2022|
|Conforming Loan Rates||6.16%||6.52%||6.58%|
|FHA Loan Rates||6.12%||6.42%||6.51%|
|VA Loan Rates||5.74%||6.25%||6.35%|
|Jumbo Loan Rates||6.36%||6.71%||6.50%|
Source: Black Knight Originations Market Monitor Report
Which mortgage loan is best?
The best mortgage for you depends on your financial situation and your goals.
For instance, if you want to buy a high-priced home and you have great credit, a jumbo loan is your best bet. Jumbo mortgages allow loan amounts above conforming loan limits, which max out at $ in most parts of the U.S.
On the other hand, if you’re a veteran or service member, a VA loan is almost always the right choice. VA loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. They provide ultra-low rates and never charge private mortgage insurance (PMI). But you need an eligible service history to qualify.
Conforming loans and FHA loans (those backed by the Federal Housing Administration) are great low-down-payment options.
Conforming loans allow as little as 3% down with FICO scores starting at 620. FHA loans are even more lenient about credit; home buyers can often qualify with a score of 580 or higher, and a less-than-perfect credit history might not disqualify you.
Finally, consider a USDA loan if you want to buy or refinance real estate in a rural area. USDA loans have below-market rates — similar to VA — and reduced mortgage insurance costs. The catch? You need to live in a ‘rural’ area and have moderate or low income to be USDA-eligible.
Mortgage rate strategies for March 2023
Mortgage rates shot up rapidly to open 2022, driven by inflation and Fed hikes. The growth slowed as inflation declined and rates came down as the year ended.
At its February meeting, the central bank said it anticipated comparatively smaller hikes for 2023 but will adjust its policies accordingly. Since then, inflation is proving harder to bring down than expected so the hikes might continue as originally planned.
Here are just a few strategies to keep in mind if you’re mortgage shopping in the coming months.
Wield your negotiating power
After historic gains, home prices started coming down during the back end of 2022 and some industry experts believe they’ll keep falling.
It’s especially good timing for borrowers because winter typically provides better home-buying conditions.
“Mortgage rates are now at their lowest level since September 2022, and about a percentage point below the peak mortgage rate last fall. As we enter the beginning of the spring buying season, lower mortgage rates and more homes on the market will help affordability for first-time homebuyers,” said Mike Fratantoni.
With buyer demand in a lull and lower competition, home listings are sitting for sale longer. February provides a great opportunity for borrowers to leverage their position in a cooling marketplace ahead of spring’s typical rush of buyers.
Shopping around could save you big bucks
Since interest rates can vary drastically from day to day and from lender to lender, failing to shop around likely leads to money lost.
Lenders charge different rates for different levels of credit scores. And while there are ways to negotiate a lower mortgage rate, the easiest is to get multiple quotes from multiple lenders and leverage them against each other.
“For potential home buyers, it’s important to get quotes from multiple lenders for a mortgage, as rates can vary dramatically, especially during such a volatile period,” said Odeta Kushi.
As the mortgage market slows due to lessened demand, lenders will be more eager for business. While missing out on the rock-bottom rates of 2020 and 2021 may sting, there’s always a way to use the market to your advantage.
How to shop for interest rates
Rate shopping doesn’t just mean looking at the lowest rates advertised online because those aren’t available to everyone. Typically, those are offered to borrowers with great credit who can put a down payment of 20% or more.
The rate lenders actually offer depends on:
- Your credit score and credit history
- Your personal finances
- Your down payment (if buying a home)
- Your home equity (if refinancing)
- Your loan-to-value ratio (LTV)
- Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI)
To figure out what rate a lender can offer you based on those factors, you have to fill out a loan application. Lenders will check your credit and verify your income and debts, then give you a ‘real’ rate quote based on your financial situation.
You should get three to five of these quotes at a minimum, then compare them to find the best offer. Look for the lowest rate, but also pay attention to your annual percentage rate (APR), estimated closing costs, and ‘discount points’ — extra fees charged upfront to lower your rate.
This might sound like a lot of work. But you can shop for mortgage rates in under a day if you put your mind to it. And shaving just a few basis points off your rate can save you thousands.
Mortgage interest rate FAQ
Current mortgage rates are averaging 6.6% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan and 5.9% for a 15-year fixed-rate loan, according to Freddie Mac’s latest weekly rate survey. Your individual rate could be higher or lower than the average depending on your credit score, down payment, and the lender you choose to work with, among other factors.
Mortgage rates could decrease next week (March 20-24, 2023) if the mortgage market takes a cautious approach to a possible recession. However, rates could rise if lenders account for the Federal Reserve taking measures to counteract inflation or if a global event brings economic uncertainty.
If the historically high inflation of 2022 continues to dissipate and the economy falls into a recession, it’s likely mortgage rates will decrease in 2023. Although, it’s important to remember that interest rates are notoriously volatile and are driven by many factors, so they can rise during any given week.
Mortgage rates may continue to rise in 2023. High inflation, a strong housing market, and policy changes by the Federal Reserve have all pushed rates higher in 2022. However, if the U.S. does indeed enter a recession, mortgage rates could come down.
Freddie Mac is now citing average 30-year rates in the 6 percent range. If you can find a rate in the 4s or 5s, you’re in a very good position. Remember that rates vary a lot by borrower. Those with perfect credit and large down payments may get below-average interest rates, while poor-credit borrowers and those with non-QM loans could see much higher rates. You’ll need to get pre-approved for a mortgage to know your exact rate.
For the most part, industry experts do not expect the housing market to crash in 2023. Yes, home prices are over-inflated. But many of the risk factors that led to the 2008 crash are not present in today’s market. Low inventory and massive buyer demand should keep the market propped up next year. Plus, mortgage lending practices are much safer than they used to be. That means there’s not a subprime mortgage crisis waiting in the wings.
At the time of this writing, the lowest 30-year mortgage rate ever was 2.65%. That’s according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the most widely used benchmark for current mortgage interest rates.
Locking your rate is a personal decision. You should do what’s right for your situation rather than trying to time the market. If you’re buying a home, the right time to lock a rate is after you’ve secured a purchase agreement and shopped for your best mortgage deal. If you’re refinancing, you should make sure you compare offers from at least three to five lenders before locking a rate. That said, rates are rising. So the sooner you can lock in today’s market, the better.
That depends on your situation. It’s a good time to refinance if your current mortgage rate is above market rates and you could lower your monthly mortgage payment. It might also be good to refinance if you can switch from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a low fixed-rate mortgage; refinance to get rid of FHA mortgage insurance; or switch to a short-term 10- or 15-year mortgage to pay off your loan early.
It’s often worth refinancing for 1 percentage point, as this can yield significant savings on your mortgage payments and total interest payments. Just make sure your refinance savings justify your closing costs. You can use a mortgage calculator or speak with a loan officer to crunch the numbers.
Start by choosing a list of three to five mortgage lenders that you’re interested in. Look for lenders with low advertised rates, great customer service scores, and recommendations from friends, family, or a real estate agent. Then get pre-approved by those lenders to see what rates and fees they can offer you. Compare your offers (Loan Estimates) to find the best overall deal for the loan type you want.
What are today’s mortgage rates?
Mortgage rates are rising, but borrowers can almost always find a better deal by shopping around. Connect with a mortgage lender to find out exactly what rate you qualify for.
1Today's mortgage rates are based on a daily survey of select lending partners of The Mortgage Reports. Interest rates shown here assume a credit score of 740. See our full loan assumptions here.