Real Estate

Mortgage And Refinance Rates Today, Nov. 17| Rates steady-ish


Today’s mortgage and refinance rates

Average mortgage rates rose modestly yesterday. And that took them up to a level that’s as high as any over the last month. In other words, all the benefits of recent falls have been wiped out. These rates do, of course, remain incredibly low by historical standards.

This morning, markets were signaling that mortgage rates today might hold steady or inch lower. But we know how unreliable those early signals have become.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Nov 17th, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates

ProgramMortgage RateAPR*Change
Conventional 30 year fixed3.311%3.328%+0.02%
Conventional 15 year fixed2.716%2.745%+0.01%
Conventional 20 year fixed3.176%3.21%Unchanged
Conventional 10 year fixed2.706%2.772%+0.05%
30 year fixed FHA3.343%4.108%-0.01%
15 year fixed FHA2.691%3.336%+0.05%
5/1 ARM FHA2.639%3.215%+0.03%
30 year fixed VA2.947%3.134%Unchanged
15 year fixed VA2.827%3.169%+0.07%
5/1 ARM VA2.549%2.404%+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?

I’d lock my mortgage rate very soon. True, they might well fall a little over the coming days. But, in my view, that’s likely to be a shallow and brief drop. And I expect them to continue their upward march.

So 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 last yesterday, were:

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury notes inched up to 1.63% from 1.62%. (Bad for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
  • Major stock indexes were lower soon after 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 may happen when indexes are lower. But this is an imperfect relationship
  • Oil prices fell to $79.95 from $80.37 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.
  • Gold prices edged up to $1,867 from $1,865 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 — inched lower to 81 from 82 out of 100. (Good 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 their 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, with that caveat, mortgage rates today look likely to remain unchanged or inch lower But be aware that “intraday swings” (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

Find your lowest rate. Start here (Nov 17th, 2021)

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. And a recent regulatory change has narrowed a gap that previously existed

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?

With yesterday’s retail sales figures out the way, it’s unlikely the rest of this week’s economic reports will move markets or mortgage rates far. At least, they’d have to deliver exceptionally good or bad news to do so.

So this may be an opportunity for markets to take a breath and allow mortgage rates to slip back a little. However, I suspect that any such movement will prove modest and brief. And, of course, it may not happen at all.

Overall, I’m expecting mortgage rates to continue to rise for weeks and months to come.

Why do I think that? Read Monday’s edition of this daily report for my reasons. And catch up with last Saturday’s weekend edition for more information about how persistent and high inflation is affecting mortgage rates.

Debt ceiling

If you thought the debt ceiling issue evaporated last month, you’re in for a nasty surprise. Because October’s “resolution” merely kicked the can down the road.

And now it’s back, like the worst bad penny. Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen advised legislators on Capitol Hill that the US government might run out of money as soon as Dec. 15. At that point, it could not only be unable to pay its bills but it might also default on its debts.

And that could cause all interest rates, including mortgage rates, to shoot higher. Because huge numbers of international transactions are underpinned by the fact that the US Treasury never defaults on its debts. And it’s hard to overstate the possibly catastrophic consequences of an unraised debt ceiling.

We’re still a way off that particular disaster. But politicians need to get their skates on to avoid serious damage just from the possibility of defaults happening.

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, 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 September, the rises have grown more pronounced, though not consistently so.

Freddie’s Nov. 10 report puts that weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 2.98% (with 0.7 fees and points), down from the previous week’s 3.09%. But that didn’t take into account that Wednesday’s sharp rise.

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 remaining, current quarter of 2021 (Q4/21) and the first three quarters of 2022 (Q1/22, Q2/22 and Q3/22).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s and Freddie’s were published on Oct. 15 and the MBA’s on Oct. 18.

ForecasterQ4/21Q1/22Q2/22Q3/22
Fannie Mae3.1%3.2% 3.2%3.3%
Freddie Mac3.2%3.4% 3.5%3.6%
MBA3.1%3.3% 3.5%3.7%

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

All these forecasts expect at least modestly higher mortgage rates fairly soon.

Find your lowest rate today

Some lenders have been spooked by the pandemic. And they’re restricting their offerings to just the most vanilla-flavored mortgages and refinances.

But others remain brave. And you can still probably find the cash-out refinance, investment mortgage or jumbo loan you want. You just have to shop around more widely.

But, of course, you should be comparison shopping 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 (Nov 17th, 2021)

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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