Mortgage And Refinance Rates Today, Jan. 26| Rates unpredictable

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates just inched lower yesterday. But the fall was so tiny that many lenders won’t have changed their rate cards but might instead slightly reduce your closing costs.

Unfortunately, mortgage rates today are unpredictable. Federal Reserve events early this afternoon (ET) could set off fireworks, begin a long-burn process, or change nothing. We can only wait and see. For what it’s worth, they started out this morning barely moving.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Jan 26th, 2022)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 3.77% 3.794% Unchanged
Conventional 15 year fixed 3.067% 3.106% -0.02%
Conventional 20 year fixed 3.421% 3.46% -0.01%
Conventional 10 year fixed 2.998% 3.07% -0.01%
30 year fixed FHA 3.844% 4.621% -0.01%
15 year fixed FHA 3.077% 3.728% Unchanged
5/1 ARM FHA 3.75% 4.012% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 3.957% 4.162% -0.03%
15 year fixed VA 3.489% 3.842% +0.23%
5/1 ARM VA 3.668% 3.137% +0.02%
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 here.

Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

My advice is still to lock your mortgage rate soon. But I’m no longer as certain about the future as I was until recently. (Read on for reasons why.)

So, if you like to gamble, you might choose to ignore my recommendations and continue to float. However, I wouldn’t personally take such a chance unless I were at least 30 days off when I have to lock. And, even then, I’d think about it carefully. There’s a lot of risk in that strategy.

Still, for most readers, my personal rate lock recommendations remain:

  • 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

>Related: 7 Tips to get the best refinance rate

Market data affecting today’s mortgage rates 

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

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes rose to 1.79% from 1.74%. (Bad for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were higher. (Bad 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 may happen when indexes are lower. But this is an imperfect relationship
  • Oil prices climbed to $86.68 from $83.59 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity 
  • Gold prices edged down to $1,833 from $1,842 an ounce. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) In general, it is 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 — edged higher to 39 from 36 out of 100. (Bad for mortgage rates.) “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 40 cents on oil ones is a fraction of 1%. So we only count meaningful differences as good or bad for mortgage rates.

Caveats about markets and 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. We still make daily calls. And are usually right. But our record for accuracy won’t achieve its former high levels until things settle down.

So use markets only as a rough guide. Because they have to be exceptionally strong or weak to rely on them. But, even with that caveat, mortgage rates today are unpredictable. However, be aware that “intraday swings” (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Jan 26th, 2022)

Important notes on today’s mortgage rates

Here are some things you need to know:

  1. 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
  2. Only “top-tier” borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you’ll see advertised
  3. Lenders vary. Yours may or may not follow the crowd when it comes to daily rate movements — though they all usually follow the wider trend over time
  4. When daily rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
  5. Refinance rates are typically close to those for purchases.

A lot is going on at the moment. 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?

If you’re interested in what the Federal Reserve is up to today, please read yesterday’s edition of this daily article. It tells you why today’s Fed report and news conference might be critical to future mortgage rates. And why it might not.

Yesterday’s edition also listed three possible future events that just might move those rates lower:

  1. War with Russia over Ukraine
  2. A stock market crash
  3. The emergence of a new and highly damaging variant of COVID-19

Of course, none of those is inevitable. Indeed, they’re probably unlikely.

But we now have a fourth event to add to that list. And it’s much more likely.

Slowing growth

Yesterday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised its growth estimates for 2022. And it shows US growth falling back to 4% this year. Normally, that would be great. But it was down from 5.2%, which the IMF forecast when it last published its numbers, in October 2021.

Now, many Americans already believe the economy has been doing badly. But they’re wrong. Growth has been strong and unemployment has been tumbling, though inconsistently.

Indeed, the strength of the economic recovery is one of the reasons mortgage rates have been rising over the last year. And a less robust recovery will reduce the upward pressure on those rates.

But don’t think it will necessarily kill that upward pressure. High inflation is another driver of higher rates as is the Fed’s withdrawal of its support for artificially low mortgage rates. And they’re looking highly likely to continue.

Still, only a few weeks ago, everything seemed aligned to drive those rates higher. And things look less certain now.

For a longer overview of where mortgage rates are going, read the weekend edition of this daily rates report.

Recently

Over much of 2020, the overall trend for mortgage rates was clearly downward. And a new, weekly all-time low was set on 16 occasions last year, according to Freddie Mac.

The most recent weekly record low occurred on Jan. 7, 2021, when it stood at 2.65% for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages.

Since then, the picture has been mixed with extended periods of rises and falls. Unfortunately, since last September, the rises have grown more pronounced, though not consistently so.

Freddie’s Jan. 20 report puts that weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 3.56% (with 0.7 fees and points), up from the previous week’s 3.45%.

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 rate forecasts for the four quarters of 2022 (Q1/22, Q2/22, Q3/22, Q4/22).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s were published on Jan. 19 and Freddie’s and the MBA’s on Jan. 21.

Forecaster Q1/22 Q2/22 Q3/22 Q4/22
Fannie Mae 3.2% 3.3%  3.3% 3.4%
Freddie Mac 3.5% 3.6%  3.7% 3.7%
MBA 3.3% 3.5%  3.7% 4.0%

Personally, I was surprised that Fannie Mae only slightly increased its rate forecasts in January. It believes that rates for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages will average 3.2% over the current quarter. But, on the day its figures were published, we reported those for conventional loans were already up to 3.87%.

Do Fannie’s economists expect those rates to plummet later this month or in February or March and remain lower in the following quarters? If so, they know something that I don’t. And that their peers in Freddie and the MBA’s teams don’t, either, though I’m less optimistic than any of them.

Of course, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts may be even more speculative than usual.

Find your lowest rate today

You should comparison shop widely, no matter what sort of mortgage you want. 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 (Jan 26th, 2022)

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.

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