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Mortgage And Refinance Rates Today, Apr. 20

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates edged higher again yesterday. It was the second consecutive working day of rises. But followed weeks of falls.

There was very little movement in key markets first thing. So it’s likely that mortgage rates today will be unchanged or barely changed.

Find and lock a low rate (Apr 21st, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 3.002% 3.007% +0.01%
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.281% 2.399% +0.03%
Conventional 20 year fixed 2.844% 2.935% +0.09%
Conventional 10 year fixed 1.942% 2.14% +0.03%
30 year fixed FHA 2.769% 3.426% Unchanged
15 year fixed FHA 2.626% 3.212% +0.1%
5 year ARM FHA 2.5% 3.201% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 2.375% 2.547% Unchanged
15 year fixed VA 2.25% 2.571% Unchanged
5 year ARM VA 2.5% 2.379% Unchanged
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.

Find and lock a low rate (Apr 21st, 2021)


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?

Do two consecutive working days of rises mean the 2021 upward trend in mortgage rates is back? It might do. But it’s much too soon to make that diagnosis. Such blips are a common feature of all markets.

But I remain confident that higher mortgage rates are on their way. It’s the timing that’s unknown.

So, for now, 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

But I don’t claim perfect foresight. And your personal analysis could turn out to be as good as mine — or better. So you might choose to be guided by your instincts and your personal tolerance for risk.

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 Treasurys inched lower to $1.60% from 1.61% (Good 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 lower on 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 happens when indexes are lower
  • Oil prices barely moved: to $63.55 from $63.57 a barrel. (Neutral for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity. 
  • Gold prices held steady at $1,772 an ounce. (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 — Fell to 52 from 61 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 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, with that caveat, so far mortgage rates today look likely to hold steady or just inch up or down. Just be aware that intraday swings (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.

Find and lock a low rate (Apr 21st, 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. But some types of refinances are higher following a regulatory change

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?

Today and soon

As Aristotle observed, “One swallow does not a summer make.” And two rises in interest rates do not a trend make.

Yes, the rises in mortgage rates we’ve seen over the last couple of working days might be the beginning of the sustained rises I’ve been predicting all this month. But we’ll need to witness a lot more of those before we can draw any conclusions about the 2021 upward trend resuming.

Still, resume it will, in my view. Because the boom that looks set to begin soon grows more certain by the day. And booms pretty much always bring higher mortgage rates.

Of course, there’s a chance I’ll be proved wrong. The current economic recovery might yet falter. And that would put an end to the boom. Indeed, it could see mortgage rates tumbling to new lows.

But choosing when to lock a mortgage rate is all about weighing probabilities. And, right now, it seems much more likely that we’ll see a boom later this year than any alternative scenario.

For more background on my wider thinking, read our latest weekend edition, which is published every Saturday soon after 10 a.m. (ET).

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. But then the trend reversed and rates rose.

However, those rises paused in April. And Freddie’s Apr. 15 report puts that weekly average at 3.04% (with 0.7 fees and points), down from the previous week’s 3.13%.

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

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Freddie’s were updated on April 14, Fannie’s on April 12 and the MBA’s on March 22.

Forecaster Q2/21 Q3/21 Q4/21 Q1/22
Fannie Mae 3.2% 3.3%  3.4% 3.5%
Freddie Mac 3.2% 3.3%  3.4% 3.5%
MBA 3.2% 3.4%  3.6% 3.7%

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

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 (Apr 21st, 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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