Mortgage Rates Fall, Easing Down From 2-Month High

National Averages of Lenders’ Best Rates – Refinance
Loan Type Refinance Rates Daily Change
30-Year Fixed 7.89% -0.08
FHA 30-Year Fixed 7.88% -0.16
VA 30-Year Fixed 7.53% No Change
Jumbo 30-Year Fixed 6.83% No Change
20-Year Fixed 7.43% -0.08
15-Year Fixed 6.85% -0.06
FHA 15-Year Fixed 6.92% -0.09
Jumbo 15-Year Fixed 6.66% -0.12
10-Year Fixed 6.80% -0.04
10/6 ARM 7.60% -0.05
7/6 ARM 7.69% -0.06
Jumbo 7/6 ARM 6.43% -0.12
5/6 ARM 7.66% -0.07
Jumbo 5/6 ARM 6.43% No Change

Calculate monthly payments for different loan scenarios with our Mortgage Calculator.

The rates you see here generally won’t compare directly with teaser rates you see advertised online, since those rates are cherry-picked as the most attractive, while these rates are averages. Teaser rates may involve paying points in advance, or they may be selected based on a hypothetical borrower with an ultra-high credit score or taking a smaller-than-typical loan. The mortgage rate you ultimately secure will be based on factors like your credit score, income, and more, so it may be higher or lower than the averages you see here.

Lowest Mortgage Rates by State

The lowest mortgage rates available vary depending on the state where originations occur. Mortgage rates can be influenced by state-level variations in credit score, average mortgage loan type, and size, in addition to individual lenders’ varying risk management strategies.

The states with the cheapest 30-year new purchase rates were Mississippi, Louisiana, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Iowa, and Nebraska, while the states with the most expensive rates were Alabama, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, and Oregon.

What Causes Mortgage Rates to Rise or Fall?

Mortgage rates are determined by a complex interaction of macroeconomic and industry factors, such as:

Because fluctuations can be caused by any number of these at once, it’s generally difficult to attribute the change to any one factor.

Macroeconomic factors kept the mortgage market relatively low for much of 2021. In particular, the Federal Reserve had been buying billions of dollars of bonds in response to the pandemic’s economic pressures. This bond-buying policy is a major influencer of mortgage rates.

But starting in November 2021, the Fed began tapering its bond purchases downward, making sizable reductions each month until reaching net zero in March 2022.

Between that time and July 2023, the Fed aggressively raised the federal funds rate to fight decades-high inflation. While the fed funds rate can influence mortgage rates, it does not directly do so. In fact, the fed funds rate and mortgage rates can move in opposite directions.

But given the historic speed and magnitude of the Fed’s 2022 and 2023 rate increases—raising the benchmark rate 5.25 percentage points over 16 months—even the indirect influence of the fed funds rate has resulted in a dramatic upward impact on mortgage rates over the last two years.

The Fed has opted to hold rates steady at its last four meetings, the last of which concluded Jan. 31. Though the central bank’s statement signaled that we have almost certainly reached the end of Fed rate hikes in this campaign, Fed Chair Jerome Powell stated that inflation is still too high, and they will therefore proceed cautiously on deciding when to make the first rate cut. Specifically, he indicated it’s unlikely they will be ready for any rate reduction by the time of their next meeting, which is scheduled for March 19–20.

After its December meeting, the Fed released quarterly data that showed almost 80% of Fed members expect there to be two to four rate cuts in 2024, with the median expectation being three rate decreases totaling 0.75%. But when in 2024 these will begin—and ultimately how many are implemented this year—is an open question at this time.

How We Track Mortgage Rates

The national averages cited above were calculated based on the lowest rate offered by more than 200 of the country’s top lenders, assuming a loan-to-value ratio (LTV) of 80% and an applicant with a FICO credit score in the 700–760 range. The resulting rates are representative of what customers should expect to see when receiving actual quotes from lenders based on their qualifications, which may vary from advertised teaser rates.

For our map of the best state rates, the lowest rate currently offered by a surveyed lender in that state is listed, assuming the same parameters of an 80% LTV and a credit score between 700–760.

Investopedia / Alice Morgan

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