Mortgage and refinance rates today, August 18

Today’s Mortgage and Refinancing Rates

Average mortgage rates were stable yesterday. They are still higher than at the beginning of the month. But recent falls have taken the edge off it. And they are remarkably low by the rarest of standards.

So far this morning, it seems like Today’s mortgage rates could be unchanged or barely changed again. But there is a danger point at 2pm (ET) when the Federal Reserve releases an eagerly awaited paper. More on that below.

Find and Lock a Low Rate (Aug 19, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates

Program Mortgage interest rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 years fixed 2,749% 2,749% -0.02%
Conventional 15 years fixed 1.99% 1.99% Unchanged
Conventional 20 years fixed 2,377% 2,377% -0.11%
10-year fixed conventional 1,851% 1,885% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA 2,688% 3,343% Unchanged
15 year fixed FHA 2,381% 2,981% Unchanged
5/1 ARM FHA 2.5% 3,213% Unchanged
30-year fixed VA 2.25% 2,421% Unchanged
15-year fixed VA 2.25% 2,571% Unchanged
5/1 ARM VA 2.5% 2,392% Unchanged
Rates are provided by our partner network and may not reflect the market. Your rate may be different. Click here for a custom quote. See our rate assumptions here.
Find and Lock a Low Rate (Aug 19, 2021)

COVID-19 Mortgage Updates: Mortgage lenders are changing rates and rules due to COVID-19. For the latest on how the coronavirus could affect your home loan, Click here.

Should You Lock Down a Mortgage Rate Today?

Of course, you don’t want to lock in while mortgage rates are falling. But you may want to think about doing it when they start to rise.

Because few experts believe that those rates are likely to fall much more. And most expect them to get up. Therefore, the likely rewards of continuing to float are small. But the risks of doing so are great.

Still, for now, my personal rate-locking recommendations remain:

  • CLOSE WITH KEY if it gets closer 7 days
  • CLOSE WITH KEY if it gets closer fifteen days
  • CLOSE WITH KEY if it gets closer 30 days
  • FLOAT if it gets closer Four. Five days
  • FLOAT if it gets closer 60 days

However, I am not claiming perfect foresight. And your personal analysis could be as good as mine, or better. Therefore, you can choose to be guided by your instincts and your personal tolerance for risk.

Market Data Affecting Current Mortgage Rates

Here’s a snapshot of the state of play this morning around 9:50 am (ET). The data, compared to about the same time yesterday, were:

  • the yield on 10-year Treasury notes pushed up to 1.27% from 1.25%. (Bad for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates typically tend to track these particular Treasury yields.
  • Main stock indices they were lower shortly after opening. (Good for mortgage rates.) When investors buy stocks, they often sell bonds, which drives prices down and increases mortgage rates and yields. The opposite can happen when the rates are lower
  • Oil prices pink for $ 66.78 from $ 67.51 a barrel. (Good for mortgage rates *.) Energy prices play an important role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.
  • Gold prices it fell up to $ 1,788 from $ 1,793 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 concerned investors tend to lower rates
  • CNN Business Fear & Greed Indexfell to 31 from 37 of 100. (Good for mortgage rates.) “Greedy” investors they push bond prices down (and interest rates up) when they leave the bond market and move into stocks, while “fearful” investors do the opposite. So lower readings are better than higher

* A change of less than $ 20 in gold prices or 40 cents in oil prices is a fraction of 1%. Therefore, we only count significant differences as good or bad for mortgage rates.

Market and rate warnings

Before the pandemic and Federal Reserve interventions in the mortgage market, you could look at the above figures and guess what would happen to mortgage rates that day. But that is no longer the case. We continue to make daily calls. And they are usually right. But our precision record won’t reach its previous highs until things calm down.

Therefore, use the markets only as a rough guide. Because they have to be exceptionally strong or weak to trust them. But, with that caveat, so far Today’s mortgage rates are likely to be stable or just an inch on either side of the neutral line. But keep in mind that “intraday swings” (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature at this time.

Find and Lock a Low Rate (Aug 19, 2021)

Important Notes on Today’s Mortgage Rates

Here are some things you need to know:

  1. Mortgage rates generally go up when the economy is good and fall when there are problems. 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 ultra-low mortgage rates you’ll see in advertising.
  3. Lenders vary. Yours may or may not follow the crowd when it comes to daily rate movements, although they all tend to follow the broader trend over time.
  4. When daily rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate sheets the same.
  5. Refinancing rates are usually close to those for purchases. And a recent regulatory change has narrowed a previously existing gap

So a lot is happening here. And no one can claim to know for sure what will happen to mortgage rates in the next few hours, days, weeks, or months.

Are mortgage and refinance rates going up or down?

Today and so on

Today’s big event is likely to be the publication at 2 pm (ET) of the minutes of the last meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). That’s the monetary policy body of the Federal Reserve.

Investors and analysts always study these minutes carefully, hoping to gain insight into the Fed’s thinking. But today’s release could cause more excitement than usual.

Because the insights it might contain this time around refers to “phasing out,” which is the process of slowing down and stopping the Fed’s current asset-buying program. Right now, you’re buying bonds at a rate of $ 120,000. million a month.

What does that have to do with mortgage rates?

As regular readers know, $ 40 billion of that $ 120 billion is being spent on mortgage-backed securities (MBS), a type of bond that largely determines mortgage rates. And buying in those amounts keeps those fees artificially low.

No one thinks today’s minutes are likely to reveal the Fed’s master phase-down plan. And it is increasingly clear that the central bank will begin its downsizing sometime this year, perhaps next month or even this. So expectations are already within a limited range.

But the markets are hungry for any information that gives them a better idea of ​​a probable date. And if this afternoon’s statement foresees it, they may react, perhaps with higher mortgage rates. If not, the minutes can be a stream of water.

For more background, read Saturday weekend edition of this column.

Mortgage Rates and Inflation: Why Are Rates Rising?


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

The most recent weekly record low occurred on January 7, when it stood at 2.65% for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. But then the trend reversed and rates went up.

However, those increases have been mostly replaced by declines since April, although they are generally small. Freddie’s August 12 report puts that weekly average at 2.87% (with 0.7 rates and points), until from 2.77% the previous week.

Expert Mortgage Rate Forecasts

Looking ahead, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) each have a team of economists dedicated to monitoring and forecasting what will happen to the economy, the housing sector, and mortgage rates.

And here are your current rate forecasts for the remaining quarters of 2021 (Q3 / 21 and Q4 / 21) and the first two quarters of 2022 (Q1 / 22 and Q2 / 22).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year fixed rate mortgages. Fannie’s were updated on July 19, Freddie’s on July 15, and MBA’s on July 21.

Forecaster T3 / 21 4T / 21 T1 / 22 T2 / 22
Fannie mae 3.0% 3.1% 3.2% 3.2%
Freddie mac 3.3% 3.4% 3.5% 3.6%
MBA 3.2% 3.4% 3.8% 4.0%

However, given so many unknowns, the current crop of forecasts could be even more speculative than usual.

All of these forecasts call for higher mortgage rates shortly. But the differences between the tipsters are stark. And it may be that Fannie is not relying on the Federal Reserve’s phasing out of its support for mortgage rates, while Freddie and the MBA are.

Find your lowest rate today

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

But others are still brave. And you can probably still find the cash refinance, investment mortgage, or giant loan that you want. You just have to shop around more widely.

But of course, you should make extensive comparisons, regardless of the type of mortgage you want. As a federal regulator the Consumer Financial Protection Office says:

Comparing prices on your mortgage has the potential to generate real savings. It may not seem like much, but Saving even a quarter point of interest on your mortgage saves you thousands of dollars for the life of your loan.

Check your new rate (August 19, 2021)

Mortgage rate methodology

Mortgage reports receive rates based on selected criteria from multiple lending partners each day. We came up with an average rate and APR for each type of loan to show on our chart. Because we average a variety of rates, it gives you a better idea of ​​what to find on the market. Also, we average rates for the same types of loans. For example, fixed FHA with fixed FHA. The end result is a good snapshot of daily rates and how they change over time.

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