Today’s Mortgage and Refinance Rates
Average mortgage rates rose significantly yesterday. The terrible start to 2022 continued, despite some worthwhile falls. And those rates are back to their highest level in two years.
There could be some relief on Monday morning, thanks to some friendly moves in the markets yesterday that came too late for lenders to adjust their rate cards. But I predict that mortgage rates could rise next week. Of course, the future is never certain.
Find and lock in a low rate (January 15, 2022)
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|30-year fixed conventional||3.733%||3.755%||+0.09%|
|15-year fixed conventional||3.069%||3.107%||+0.07%|
|20-year fixed conventional||3.477%||3.516%||+0.12%|
|10-year fixed conventional||3.01%||3.083%||+0.07%|
|30-year fixed FHA||3.786%||4.56%||+0.02%|
|15-year fixed FHA||3.078%||3.729%||+0.04%|
|5/1 ARM FHA||3.574%||3.868%||+0.02%|
|30-year fixed PV||3.65%||3.848%||+0.13%|
|15-year fixed VA||3.229%||3.57%||-0.18%|
|5/1 ARM GO||3.035%||2.832%||+0.1%|
|Pricing is provided by our partner network and may not reflect the market. Your rate may be different. Click here for a personalized quote. See our rate assumptions here.|
Find and lock in a low rate (January 15, 2022)
Should you lock in a mortgage rate today?
I would lock in my mortgage rate if I were you. Because I think it’s likely that those rates will continue to climb for some time, probably several months or more.
Of course, I could be wrong. No one can predict the future with confidence. But it seems to me that the forces that are putting upward pressure on rates are powerful and long-lasting. Unless something big happens.
So my personal rate lock recommendations remain:
- LOCK if closing seven days
- LOCK if closing 15 days
- LOCK if closing 30 days
- LOCK if closing 45 days
- LOCK if closing 60 days
However, with so much uncertainty right now, your instincts could easily turn out to be as good as mine, or even better. So let your instincts and personal risk tolerance guide you.
What’s Moving Current Mortgage Rates
How come mortgage rates are rising as the Omicron variant wreaks havoc on the US and global economies? Surely they would fall normally.
Well yes. But investors are looking to the future and betting that Omicron will, in a short time, become less prevalent in the United States and will have left high levels of immunity to COVID-19 among the population. Economically, the pain the variant inflicts now will leave the country much stronger.
It is far from an established science. But we can already see that Omicron generally crosses populations very quickly and most people experience mild symptoms, if any. Of course, some, unfortunately, suffer more severely and relatively few die.
What the UK can tell us about Omicron
The UK was one of the first advanced countries to be affected by Omicron. It reported its first two cases on November 27, 2021. And, yesterday, its daily infection count fell to 99,652 from 178,250 seven days earlier.
Certainly, its hospitalization and death rates continue to rise. But that’s because there are inevitable delays between infection, the need for hospitalization and, in relatively rare cases, death.
Of course, the UK and the US are not directly comparable. The proportion of the British population who have had two or more vaccinations is significantly higher than here.
And people in the UK are more densely packed on their fairly small island, meaning viruses are likely to spread faster. America’s population density is 84.2 people per square mile. The UK is 679 people per square mile.
But the UK experience seems to support the hypothesis that Omicron will spread rapidly through populations and then quickly fade away. What we cannot yet be sure of is the level of protection an infection offers against other infections by it, other variants, and especially any new variants that appear.
However, the first signs are encouraging. And investors don’t seem outrageously optimistic betting on the pandemic looking much better in the spring.
Indeed, if all goes well, we could even witness the beginning of the end of the pandemic. And COVID-19 could soon go from a pandemic to an endemic disease, similar to the seasonal flu.
Other Pressures on Mortgage Rates
Meanwhile, the forces trying to drive up mortgage rates remain strong. We can say that inflation is the main one.
Earlier this week we saw the Consumer Price Index hit a record high not seen in 1982. And a Producer Price Index that suggests inflationary pressures are building rather than weakening. That alone should push up mortgage rates.
But, also this week, the Federal Reserve made it clear that it plans to play tough with inflation. That could mean four interest rate hikes this year, each of which would likely impact all variable rate loans.
Some think the Fed is talking big to buy time. But we will have to meet expectations over time.
We already know that the Fed plans to end its program in March that kept mortgage rates artificially low. It did this by buying industrial quantities of mortgage-backed securities (MBS), a type of bond that largely determines these rates.
Now we are faced with the possibility that this program will not only be interrupted, but also reversed. If the Fed starts selling some of these MBS (and its MBS holdings are worth $2.6 trillion) later in the year, mortgage rates could rise significantly.
In the meantime, I expect them to rise fairly slowly. However, there is always the possibility of them falling. It seems unlikely. But an unexpected event of shattering importance could well change things.
Economic reports next week
We have a light week for the economic reports ahead. And none of the ones listed below are likely to cause much movement in the markets unless they include surprisingly good or bad data:
- Tuesday – National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Index
- Wednesday — December building permits and housing starts
- Thursday — Existing home sales in December. Plus weekly new claims for unemployment insurance through January 15
- Friday — December leading economic indicators
We could experience a quiet week as far as economic reports are concerned.
Find and lock in a low rate (January 15, 2022)
Mortgage interest rate forecast for next week
Mortgage rates could rise overall next week. We may have passed the worst of the big increases. And there is always the possibility of limited falls.
But I would be surprised if we saw a week-over-week decline. That said, I’m not used to being surprised.
Mortgage and refinance rates generally move in tandem. And the removal of unfavorable market refinancing charges has largely eliminated a gap that had grown between the two.
Meanwhile, another recent regulatory change has likely made mortgages for investment properties and vacation homes more accessible and less expensive.
How your mortgage interest rate is determined
Mortgage and refinance rates are typically determined by prices in a secondary market (similar to stock or bond markets) where mortgage-backed securities are traded.
And it depends heavily on the economy. Thus, mortgage rates tend to be high when things are going well and low when the economy is struggling.
But you play an important role in determining your own mortgage rate in five ways. And you can affect it significantly by:
- Shop around for your best mortgage rate – They vary widely from lender to lender
- Boost your credit score – Even a small bump can make a big difference to your rate and payments
- Save the biggest down payment possible – Lenders like you to have real skin in this game
- Keep your other borrowings small — The lower your other monthly commitments, the higher the mortgage you can afford
- Choose your mortgage carefully – Are you better off with a conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, jumbo or other loan?
Time spent getting these ducks in a row can earn you lower rates.
Remember it’s not just a mortgage rate
Be sure to factor in all of your homeownership costs when calculating how much mortgage you can afford. So focus on your “PITI”. It’s your Pprincipal (repays the amount you borrowed), IInterest (the price of the loan), (the property) Jaxes, and (owners) Iassurance. Our mortgage loan calculator can help you.
Depending on your type of mortgage and the amount of your down payment, you may also need to pay for mortgage insurance. And that can easily hit three figures every month.
But there are other potential costs. So you will have to pay homeowners association dues if you choose to live somewhere with an HOA. And, wherever you live, you should expect repair and maintenance costs. There is no owner to call when things go wrong!
Finally, you will have a hard time forgetting closing costs. You can see those reflected in the annual percentage rate (APR) that lenders will quote you. Because it spreads them effectively over the term of your loan, making it higher than your normal mortgage rate.
But you may be able to get help with those closing costs. and your down payment, especially if you are a first-time buyer. Read:
Down payment assistance programs in every state for 2021
Mortgage Rate Methodology
Mortgage reports receive daily rates based on selected criteria from multiple lending partners. We arrive at an average rate and APR for each loan type to display in our chart. As we calculate the average of a range of prices, it gives you a better idea of what you might find in the market. In addition, we calculate the average of the rates for the same types of loan. For example, fixed FHA with fixed FHA. The result is a good overview of the daily rates and their development over time.