Mortgage and refinance rates today, May 3, 2022
Today’s mortgage and refinance rates
Average mortgage rates climbed appreciably yesterday. And they set a new recent high, meaning they were at their highest level since 2009. Of course, compare them with rates before that year, and they remain real bargains.
Mortgage rates today were moving slightly lower first thing this morning. But it’s a volatile time and that could change later.
Current mortgage and refinance rates
|Conventional 30 year fixed
|Conventional 15 year fixed
|Conventional 20 year fixed
|Conventional 10 year fixed
|30 year fixed FHA
|15 year fixed FHA
|30 year fixed VA
|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?
Don’t lock on a day when mortgage rates look set to fall. My recommendations (below) are intended to give longer-term suggestions about the overall direction of those rates. So, they don’t change daily to reflect fleeting sentiments in volatile markets.
If you hold off locking until tomorrow, there’s a chance mortgage rates will fall in response to critical Federal Reserve announcements that afternoon. But there’s at least as big a chance they’ll rise further.
Do you feel lucky? Or would you prefer to avoid gambling when the stakes are your next mortgage rate?
I’m a cautious type. So, my personal rate lock recommendations for the longer term 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 fell to 2.93% from 2.99%. (Good for mortgage rates.) More than any other market, mortgage rates normally tend to follow these particular Treasury bond yields
- Major stock indexes were mixed soon after opening. (Neutral 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 rose to $103.97 from $100.67 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates*.) Energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity
- Gold prices nudged up to $1,869 from $1,856 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 — increased to 30 from 27 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 movement of less than $20 on gold prices or 40 cents on oil ones is a change of 1% or less. 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, mortgage rates today might decrease. However, be aware that “intraday swings” (when rates change direction during the day) are a common feature right now.
Important notes on today’s mortgage rates
Here are some things you need to know:
- 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’
- Only “top-tier” borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you’ll see advertised
- 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
- When daily rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
- 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 will happen to mortgage rates in the coming hours, days, weeks or months.
Are mortgage and refinance rates rising or falling?
A crucial Federal Reserve announcement is looming. The central bank will release a written statement at 2 p.m. (ET) tomorrow. And Fed Chair Jerome Powell will host a news conference 30 minutes later.
Forgive me for repeating the same message over and over. But, really, the Fed is currently the only game in town that’s influencing mortgage rates.
The Fed will be making two important announcements then. The one that affects most consumers (and thus that will receive huge media coverage) will be a 0.5% hike in the federal funds rate. That will cause pretty much all variable-rate borrowing to become more expensive.
Of course, the central bank may shock everyone with a bigger or smaller rise than that. But it’s looking unlikely.
It’s all about the bonds
The announcement that could impact mortgage rates the most concerns how the Fed will run down its holdings of mortgage-backed securities (MBS), which is the type of bond that largely determines mortgage rates. At its last meeting, it promised detailed plans for that action tomorrow.
The Fed built up its current $2.72 trillion MBS holdings as a pandemic stimulus measure because its purchases pushed mortgage rates down. So selling them should push those rates higher.
But markets have known for months that it will reduce those holdings. And they’ve done their best to anticipate how quickly the Fed will do that. In other words, they’ve already priced in what they expect to happen.
So movements in mortgage rates tomorrow afternoon (and beyond) will reflect the gap between market expectations and the Fed’s actual actions.
If the Fed runs down its MBS holdings more slowly than markets expect, mortgage rates might fall. If it runs them down more quickly, those rates might rise. But if markets have anticipated tomorrow’s announcement accurately, they may barely budge.
This is a true cliffhanger. And I have no idea what tomorrow’s episode will bring. But mortgage rates may continue to be volatile while we’re waiting for the denouement.
Read the weekend edition of this daily article for more background.
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 that 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.
Rates then bumbled along, moving little for the following eight or nine months. But they began rising noticeably that September. Unfortunately, they’ve been shooting up since the start of 2022.
Freddie’s Apr. 28 report puts that same weekly average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages at 5.10% (with 0.8 fees and points), minutely down from the previous week’s 5.11%.
Note that Freddie expects you to buy discount points (“with 0.8 fees and points”) on closing that earn you a lower rate. If you don’t do that, your rate would be closer to the ones we and others quote.
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 three quarters of 2022 (Q2/22, Q3/22, Q4/22) and the first quarter of next year (Q1/23).
The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s were published on Apr. 19, Freddie’s on Apr. 18, and the MBA’s on Apr. 13.
Of course, given so many unknowables, the whole current crop of forecasts might be even more speculative than usual. I’m afraid I’m less optimistic than any of them.
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.”
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.
The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.