Mortgage and refinance rates today, September 18, 2020

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates edged lower yesterday. Assuming you’re not affected by the surcharge on certain Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac refinances, yours may have changed little this week. And conventional loans today start at 2.875% (2.875% APR) for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. 

Find and lock a low rate (Sep 18th, 2020)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 2.875% 2.875% Unchanged
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.625% 2.625% Unchanged
Conventional 5 year ARM 3.375% 2.892% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA 2.25% 3.226% Unchanged
15 year fixed FHA 2.25% 3.191% Unchanged
5 year ARM FHA 2.5% 3.245% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 2.25% 2.421% Unchanged
15 year fixed VA 2.25% 2.571% Unchanged
5 year ARM VA 2.5% 2.426% Unchanged
Your rate might be different. Click here for a personalized rate quote. See our rate assumptions here.

Find and lock a low rate (Sep 18th, 2020)


COVID-19 mortgage updates: Mortgage lenders are changing rates and rules due to COVID-19. To see the latest on how coronavirus could impact your home loan, click here.

Should you lock a mortgage rate today?

The Federal Reserve restated this week its commitment to keep buying huge numbers of mortgage bonds. And that should provide real comfort to borrowers. Since it started this process, the Fed’s pushed rates noticeably lower, even when markets wanted them to be higher.

How mortgage rates are determined and why you should care

But nothing’s ever certain — and that’s especially true during these exceptional times. So it would be perfectly rational for you to choose to lock your rate now, regardless of your closing date.

However, I think there’s still a possibility of some further modest falls in mortgage rates. Just note that any rate chart is going to have a jagged line, complete with rises as well as falls. The overall trend may be friendly, but the closer you get to closing, the greater the possibility of your being trapped in a period of upward movement.

And that’s why my personal recommendations are:

  • LOCK if closing in 7 days
  • LOCK if closing in 15 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 30 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 45 days
  • FLOAT if closing in 60 days

Compare top refinance lenders

Market data affecting today’s mortgage rates 

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

  • The yield on 10-year Treasurys inched up to 0.68% from 0.67%. (Bad for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields, though less so recently
  • Major stock indexes were mixed but mostly lower. (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 happens when indexes are lower
  • Oil prices rose to $41.16 from $39.85. (Bad for mortgage rates* because energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.) 
  • Gold prices rose to $1,956 an ounce from $1,944. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) In general, it’s 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 increased to 59 from 55 out of a possible 100 points. (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 a matter of cents on oil ones is a fraction of 1%. So we only count meaningful differences as good or bad for mortgage rates.

Once upon a time, 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. The Fed is now a huge player in the mortgage market and some days can overwhelm investor sentiment.

So use markets only as a rough guide. They have to be exceptionally strong (rates are likely to rise) or weak (they could fall) to rely on them. Today they’re looking uneventful for mortgage rates. Unless things change in coming hours, this looks likely to be a quiet day with only a small change in rates — if any — currently on the cards.

Find and lock a low rate (Sep 18th, 2020)

Important notes on today’s mortgage rates

Here are some things you need to know:

  1. The Fed’s ongoing interventions in the mortgage market (at least $1 trillion; some say nearly $2 trillion) should put continuing downward pressure on these rates. But it can’t work miracles all the time. So expect short-term rises as well as falls. And read “For once, the Fed DOES affect mortgage rates. Here’s why” if you want to understand this aspect of what’s happening
  2. Typically, mortgage rates go up when the economy’s doing well and down when it’s in trouble. But there are exceptions
  3. Only “top-tier” borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you’ll see advertised
  4. Lenders vary. Yours may or may not follow the crowd when it comes to rate movements — though they all usually follow the wider trend over time
  5. When rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
  6. At times of high demand, lenders can push up rates as a way of managing their workflow. Neither markets nor the Fed can help when that happens

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. But check out what 10 experts think could happen between now and the end of this year:

Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?

Over the last few months, the overall trend for mortgage rates has clearly been downward. A new all-time low was set early in August and another looked possible a couple of weeks ago — before better-than-expected employment data snatched that possibility away. Still, a new one remains a real possibility.

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.

Expert mortgage rate forecasts

And here are their current rates forecasts for the last two quarters of 2020 (Q3/20 and Q4/20) and the first two of 2021 (Q1/21 and Q2/21).

Note that Fannie’s (published on Tuesday) and the MBA’s are updated monthly while Freddie’s are published quarterly So Freddie’s sometimes feel stale. The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages:

Forecaster Q3/20 Q4/20 Q1/21 Q2/21
Fannie Mae 3.0% 2.8% 2.8% 2.7%
Freddie Mac 3.3% 3.3% 3.2% 3.2%
MBA 3.0% 3.1% 3.1% 3.1%

So expectations vary considerably. You pays yer money …

Find your lowest rate today

Everyone — from federal regulators to personal finance gurus — agrees that shopping around for your new mortgage or refinance is important. You could save thousands over just a few years by getting quotes from multiple lenders. And more, if you keep your mortgage for a long time or have a large loan.

But you’ve rarely had more to gain by shopping around than you do now. The mortgage market is currently very messy. And some lenders are offering appreciably lower rates than others. Worse, some are making it harder to get any mortgage at all if you want a cash-out refinance, a loan for an investment property, a jumbo loan or if your credit score is damaged.

So comparison shopping could get you the loan you want — and save you a bundle.

Verify your new rate (Sep 18th, 2020)

Compare top refinance lenders

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.

tinyurlis.gdv.gdv.htu.nuclck.ruulvis.netshrtco.detny.im

Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>