Forecast plus today's mortgage rates
Average mortgage rates dropped yesterday. And that left her right next to last week's all-time low. VA loans start today at 2.25% (2.421% APR) for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
Should you contact the markets (below) to make your daily lock or float decisions? The only other thing that affects these interest rates is the invisible hand of the Federal Reserve. Maybe. However, the normally close relationship between the yields on 10-year government bonds and mortgage rates is currently repeated. And other markets are even less reliable as leaders.
Find and block current rates. (July 22, 2020)
Conventional 30 year fixed
Conventional 15 year fixed
Conventional 5-year ARM
Fixed FHA for 30 years
FHA for 15 years
5 years ARM FHA
VA for 30 years
15 years fixed VA
5 years ARM VA
Your rate could be different. Click here for a personalized price quote. See our tariff assumptions here.
• COVID-19 Mortgage Updates: Lenders change rates and rules based on COVID-19. For the latest information on the effects of coronavirus on your home loan, click here.
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Market data that affects (or doesn't) today's mortgage rates
Are mortgage rates closer to the markets they traditionally follow? It is certainly an inconsistent relationship that is being confused by the Federal Reserve interventions behind the scenes.
But when you are ready to follow them, things are like that search a little better for mortgage rates today. This is because most markets are happier this morning after some positive news about potential COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, the heads of state and government of the European Union have agreed on a stimulus package of $ 857 billion to counter the recession of the corona virus. And good news usually means higher mortgage rates.
Here is the current state this morning at 9:50 a.m. (ET). The data, compared to approximately the same time yesterday morning, was:
The Yield on 10 year Treasuries decreased from 0.61% to 0.59%. (Good for mortgage rates.) Mortgage rates tend to follow these special government bond yields more than any other market, though more recently
Major stock indices were mixed and hardly moved. (Neutral for mortgage Prices.) When investors buy stocks, they often sell bonds, which lowers the prices of these stocks and increases yields and mortgage rates. The opposite happens when the indices are lower
Oil prices fell from $ 42.07 to $ 41.30 a barrel (Good for mortgage rates * because energy prices play a big role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activities.)
Gold prices rose from $ 1,837 an ounce to $ 1,853. (Well for mortgage rates *.) In general, it is better for interest rates if gold goes up, and worse if gold goes down. Gold tends to rise when investors are worried about the economy. And worried investors tend to cut interest rates.
CNN Business Fear & Greed Index kept stable at 67 out of a possible 100 points. (Neutral for mortgage rates.) "Greedy" investors push bond prices down (and interest rates up) when they leave the bond market and invest in stocks, while "fearful" investors do the opposite. So lower readings are better than higher ones
* A change of a few dollars in the price of gold or a question of the cent in the price of oil is a fraction of 1%. Therefore, we only count significant differences in mortgage rates as good or bad.
Important notes on today's mortgage rates
The rate you actually get
Of course, few purchases or refinancing qualify for the lowest interest rates found in some media and lender ads. These are usually only available to people with excellent credit scores, high down payments and solid finances (so-called top tier borrowers). And even then, the state you are buying in can affect your rate.
Before blocking, however, anyone who buys or refinances can usually lose if interest rates rise, or win if rates fall.
When the movements are very small, many lenders don't bother to change their price lists. Instead, you may have to pay a little more or less to get compensation.
Overall, we still think it is possible that the Federal Reserve will cut rates further over time. However, there was a lot going on here before the green shoots of economic recovery became apparent. Now there is more. And as we've seen, the Fed can only influence some of the forces that sometimes affect mortgage rates. So nothing is insured.
Read “Exceptionally, the Fed has an impact on mortgage rates. Here's why you want to examine the key details of this organization's current, temporary role in the mortgage market.
Freddie Mac's weekly prices
Don't be surprised if Freddie's Thursday reports and ours rarely match. First, the two measure different things: weekly and daily averages.
But Freddie usually only collects data on Mondays and Tuesdays a week. And they are often out of date by the day of publication. So you can rely on Freddie's accuracy over time, but not necessarily every day or week.
Advice on the rate lock
My recommendation reflects the success of the Fed's efforts to keep interest rates low. I personally suggest:
LOCK when you approach 7 Days
LOCK when you approach fifteen Days
HOVER when you approach 30th Days
HOVER when you approach 45 Days
HOVER when you approach 60 Days
But it's entirely up to you. And you might still want to lock on days when interest rates are at or near the all-time low.
The Fed could cut rates further in the coming weeks, although this is far from certain. Regardless, persistent bad news about COVID-19 could have a similar effect on the markets. (Read on for the economists' forecasts.) However, you can expect bad spots if they rise.
It is equally important that the corona virus has created massive insecurity – and disruptions that can defy all human efforts in the short term, including perhaps the Fed's. Locking or floating is a game of chance in both cases.
What economists expect from mortgage rates
Mortgage rate forecasts for 2020
The only function of the economic forecast is to make astrology appear respectable. – John Kenneth Galbraith, Harvard economist
Galbraith made clear statements about the economists' forecasts. But there is nothing wrong with taking them into account, seasoned appropriately with a pinch of salt. Who else will we ask when we make financial plans?
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the MBA each have a team of economists dedicated to monitoring and forecasting the impact on the economy, housing and mortgage rates.
And here are her latest forecasts for the average interest rate of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage each quarter (Q1, Q2 …) in 2020. Fannie updated his forecasts on July 14 and the MBA updated them the following day. Freddies, which is now a quarterly report, was released in mid-June.
Therefore, none of the forecasters expect a quarterly average below the 3.0% mark this year. Of course, this does not exclude daily or weekly averages that are below this level in a quarter. Finally, quarterly averages can include some pretty big differences between highs and lows.
Both Fannie and the MBA were somewhat more optimistic about interest rates in their (monthly) July forecasts. And that makes Freddie's June (quarterly) look stale.
What should you conclude from this? That nobody is sure about a lot, but that wild optimism about the direction of mortgage rates might be out of place.
The gap between the forecasts is real and widening as the forecasters look ahead. As a result, Fannie now expects this rate to decrease on average 2.9% in the first half of next year and to 2.8% in the second half.
Freddie expects 3.2% this year. And the MBA assumes that it will be 3.4% again in the first half of 2021 and 3.5% in the last half of the year. The MBA assumes that it will average 3.7% in 2022. You pay your money …
Nevertheless, all of these forecasts show significantly lower rates this year and next year than in 2019, when, according to Freddie Mac's archives, it averaged 3.94%.
And never forget that last year had the fourth lowest mortgage rate since records started. Better yet, this year could be an all-time low – aside from shocking news. Of course, shocking news is a low bar in 2020.
Mortgages are more difficult to obtain
The mortgage market is currently very chaotic. And some lenders offer significantly lower interest rates than others. If you borrow large amounts, such differences can add up to several thousand dollars within a few years – more with larger loans and over longer periods of time.
Worse, many have restricted their loans. You may find it more difficult to find disbursement refinancing, an investment property loan, a jumbo loan, or a mortgage if your credit rating is compromised.
All of this makes it even more important than usual that you purchase your mortgage on a large scale and compare offers from several lenders.
However, studies by Fannie Mae and the MBA indicate that the screw is turning more slowly. And some predict that a number of lenders will “soon” start loosening the restrictions.
Mortgage rates traditionally improve (decrease) the worse the economic outlook is. Where the economy is now and where it could go is relevant to rate observers.
From time to time
Employment and retail sales (among others) were much better than expected last month.
However, many were disillusioned with the Federal Reserve's worrying forecasts for economic growth and employment on June 10. These concerns have been reinforced on 1st of July when the minutes of his political committee's last meeting were published. These showed that the Fed was expecting:
Increasing business losses
Depressed consumer spending well into 2021
The real possibility of a double downturn that could undermine a recovery in employment
July 6th Goldman Sachs warned of the effects of an interruption in the relaxation of the lockout rules on the emerging recovery. "The recent declines are small compared to the slump in activity in March and April," said chief economist Jan Hatzius. "But they clearly indicate a departure from the steady upward trend since mid-April."
In the meantime, we are at an early stage in a new earnings season in which listed companies publish their quarterly results. Barron predicts that this will be "ugly", while CNN expects it to be "terrible".
Some are particularly concerned that tech giants may be overrated. Results for many of these companies, including IBM, Microsoft and Intel, will be released this week.
The question is how much the markets will care about these numbers.
COVID-19 is still a major threat
The pandemic is currently the biggest impact on the markets. And COVID-19 related news continues to be depressing. According to the New York Times, the 14-day change in new cases across America yesterday was + 30%.
This has tended to decrease in the past few days. Does this mean that tightening containment measures works in some countries? Maybe.
But infections still rose 65,512 cases nationwide yesterday, the Times says. In a virus briefing in the White House yesterday, President Donald Trump said:
Unfortunately, it will probably get worse before it gets better. Something I don't like to say about things, but that's the way it is.
Deaths follow up infections
Until recently, some had consoled themselves because the number of new COVID-19 deaths in the United States decreased despite an increasing infection rate. However, this is no longer true as the mortality rate has resumed its upward trend, while infections are falling in many places across the country.
The 14-day change in the number of deaths was + 48% yesterday, the Times does the math. That is lower than recently. And yet there is no room for complacency. Yesterday, at 1,127, the number of deaths nationwide exceeded 1,000 for the first time. Note the difference between 14-day changes and day numbers.
Deaths will inevitably lag behind new infections. So we should at least hope that they will plateau within weeks – provided new cases don't start to rise sharply again.
Although the COVID-19 news dominates in general as well as in the markets, there is still room for other concerns. And trade concerns are currently heightened.
China, in particular, has its sights firmly on the United States with regard to recent human rights violations in Hong Kong. New sanctions have already been proposed and others could follow. Things escalated yesterday when the government forced the Chinese consulate in Houston, TX to close.
Meanwhile, there have been disputes with some European countries over the taxation of American companies operating there. Some see the US response as saber-rattling, as new tariffs on certain French goods take several months to come into force.
However, in a time of restricted world trade, few companies will welcome further restrictions.
The most recent economic data looked good. But you have to see them in their wider context.
First, they follow catastrophic lows. They expect record profits after record losses. Second, the pandemic is far from over. Some states are still seeing an alarming number of new cases and deaths.
Good news is more than welcome, but it can mask the devastation caused by COVID-19 in the economy.
Some concerns that remain are:
We are currently officially in recession
Unemployment is likely to continue to rise in the foreseeable future
On July 17, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's GDPNow ™ resource estimated its real GDP growth forecast for the second quarter at -34.7% (yes, that's a minus).
On June 1, the Congress budget office reduced its expectations for US growth between 2020 and 2030. Compared to its forecast in January, the CBO now expects America to miss $ 7.9 trillion in growth this decade becomes
As IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said on June 24: “We are definitely not out of the woods. This is a crisis like no other and will recover like no other. "
Markets don't seem to be linked to reality – do they?
On July 12, the Washington Post quoted Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi:
The stock market and the economy have separated. I am not sure what will trigger a continued stock sell-off, but rising (virus) infections and another round of further business closings will be hard to ignore for investors.
Amateurs Bored Of Lockdown?
June 16The controversial, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman wrote this for the New York Times:
What do these investors think? I don't think they think – not really. Financial reporting conventions more or less require articles about market action to attribute rationality to investors, so that stock movements are attributed to optimism about the economic recovery or something else. The reality, however, is that it's mostly young men, many of whom have sports betting backgrounds, bought stocks, and are optimistic because they've made money so far.
On June 14, CNN Business reported that only one online broker, TD Ameritrade, had opened 608,000 new accounts in the first quarter of this year. That was more than twice as much as in the previous quarter.
Cognitive dissonance? For some
Some, like Krugman, see this as a response to the boredom of the block, in which inexperienced and unknown amateur investors gather in a high-risk environment.
For seasoned investors, the fact that Federal Reserve interventions provide effective (though not yet direct) market support is a continuing source of comfort. Some even believe that the Fed could buy shares in the event of a loss of confidence, although this would raise all sorts of problems.
Economic reports this week
The past week has been extremely busy with economic reports. But this week is exceptionally quiet.
Few reports this week would, at best, spark great interest in investors. In these special circumstances, it would be a surprise if the data of the coming days had an impact if the markets had so much else to look at. The only exception could be the weekly unemployment figures on Thursday.
Predictions are important
Typically, any economic report can move the markets as long as it contains news that is shockingly good or devastatingly bad – provided that the news is unexpected.
This is because markets tend to evaluate analyst consensus forecasts (hereinafter we use those reported by MarketWatch) before the reports are released. Therefore, it is usually the difference between the numbers actually reported and the forecast that has the greatest effect.
And this means that even an extreme difference between the actual values of the previous reporting period and this can hardly have an immediate impact, provided that this difference is expected and has been taken into account in advance.
This week's calendar
T.His week's calendar of major domestic economic reports includes:
Wednesday: June Inventory sales (actually 4.72 million homes sold; Forecast 4.87 million – seasonally adjusted annual rate)
Thursday: W.eekly new unemployment claims until July 18 (Forecast 1.41 million new unemployment insurance claims)
Friday: June Selling new houses (Forecast 710,000 new homes sold – seasonally adjusted annual rate)
There is little to get your pulse racing. Even the new unemployment claims on Thursday would have to be shocking to make a big impact.
Rate lock recommendation
The basis for my suggestion
Unlike on exceptionally good days, I suggest you Lock if you are less than 15 days after closing. However, here's a personal assessment of a risk assessment: Do the dangers outweigh the possible rewards?
At the moment, the Fed mostly seems to be keeping an overview (although the surge has shown the limits of its power since its interventions began). And I think it will probably stay that way, at least in the medium term.
However, this does not mean that there will be no disturbances on the way. It is quite possible that mortgage rates will rise in times when not all of them can be controlled by the Fed.
So I suggest a 15-day cutoff. In my opinion, this optimizes your chances of driving uphill and taking advantage of falls. But it's really just a personal view.
Only you can choose
And, of course, financially conservative borrowers may want to block immediately, almost regardless of when they will close. After all, current mortgage rates are at or near record lows, and much is secured.
On the other hand, risk takers might prefer to take their time and take a chance in the event of future falls. But only you can decide which risk you feel personally comfortable with.
If you are still floating, stay alert until you lock. Make sure your lender is ready to act as soon as you press the button. And continue to monitor mortgage rates closely.
When should I block anyway?
You may still want to lock your loan if you buy a house and have a higher debt-to-income ratio than most others. In fact, you should tend to lock because rate hikes could void your mortgage approval. Refinancing is less critical and you may be able to play and hover.
If your degree is weeks or months away, the decision to lock or float becomes complicated. If you know interest rates are going up, of course you want to lock yourself in as soon as possible. However, the longer your lock is, the higher your upfront costs will be. On the other hand, if a higher interest rate would wipe out your mortgage approval, you probably want to lock yourself in, even if it costs more.
If you're still floating, stay in close contact with your lender.
Until recently, in this daily article, we have provided information about the additional help borrowers can receive during the pandemic as they near the end.
You can still access all of this information and more in a new, standalone article:
What causes interest rates to rise and fall?
In normal times (not now), mortgage rates depend heavily on investor expectations. Good economic news tends to be bad for interest rates as an active economy raises concerns about inflation. Inflation causes fixed income assets like bonds to lose value and their yields (another way of saying interest rates) to rise.
For example, suppose you bought a $ 1,000 bond two years ago, paying 5% interest ($ 50) each year. (This is called the "coupon rate" or "face value" because you paid $ 1,000 for a $ 1,000 bond and because the interest rate is the rate shown on the bond – 5% in this case).
Your interest rate: $ 50 APR / $ 1,000 = 5.0%
When interest rates fall
That's a pretty good rate today, so many investors want to buy it from you. You can sell your $ 1,000 bond for $ 1,200. The buyer receives the same $ 50 a year in interest you received. It's still 5% of the $ 1,000 coupon. However, since he paid more for the bond, his return is lower.
Your buyer's interest rate: $ 50 APR / $ 1,200 = 4.2%
The buyer receives an interest rate or a return of only 4.2%. And that's why interest rates go down as bond demand increases and bond prices rise.
When interest rates go up
However, as the economy warms up, inflation potential makes bonds less attractive. When fewer people want to buy bonds, their prices fall and then interest rates rise.
Imagine that you have your $ 1,000 bond but cannot sell it for $ 1,000 because unemployment has dropped and stock prices are rising. You'll end up with $ 700. The buyer receives the same $ 50 a year in interest, but the return looks like this:
$ 50 APR / $ 700 = 7.1%
The buyer's interest rate is now just over 7%. Interest rates and returns are not mysterious. You calculate them with simple math.
Mortgage Interest FAQ
What are today's mortgage rates?
The average mortgage rate today is just 2.875% (2.875% APR) for a 30-year conventional fixed rate loan. Of course, your own interest rate will likely be higher or lower depending on factors such as your down payment, credit rating, loan type, and more.
Are mortgage rates rising or falling?
Mortgage rates have been extremely volatile recently due to the impact of COVID-19 on the US economy. Interest rates fell recently when the Fed announced generally low interest rates for the next two years. Interest rates could, however, rise slightly again if the number of mortgage applications increases sharply again or if the economy starts to pick up again.
Mortgage rate method
The mortgage reports receive daily interest rates based on selected criteria from multiple credit partners. We determine an average rate and an annual interest rate for each loan type that should be shown in our chart. Because we calculate a range of average prices, you get a better idea of what you might find on the market. We also calculate average interest on the same types of loans. For example, FHA was fixed with FHA. The end result is a good snapshot of the daily rates and how they change over time.
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