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Mortgage Rates Today, Friday, Oct. 21: Small Dip; Mortgage Refinancing Cooling Down

Oct. 21, 2016
Mortgage Rates, Mortgages
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Thirty-year and 15-year fixed mortgage rates notched down a bit, while 5/1 ARM loan rates rose just a hair on Friday, according to a NerdWallet survey of mortgage rates published by national lenders this morning.

Mortgage Rates Today,
Friday, Oct. 21

(Change from 10/20)
30-year fixed: 3.67% APR (-0.03)
15-year fixed: 3.09% APR (-0.01)
5/1 ARM: 3.60% APR (+0.01)

Possibly higher rates may mean fewer mortgage refinances in 2017

In its monthly outlook report released on Thursday, Freddie Mac said that housing is still part of a slowly improving economy but that refinancing won’t pitch in as much money next year as it did this year.

“The economy and labor markets are looking better,” said Sean Becketti, chief economist of Freddie Mac. “We’re even seeing modest wage gains. And Fed watchers are increasingly predicting a December rate hike as things improve. However, worldwide economic growth is weak, and its prospects have gotten worse.”

Whether mortgage rates increase depends more on global growth and worldwide bond yields than Federal Open Market Committee policy, according to the report.

If worldwide bond yields return to pre-Brexit levels, mortgage interest rates will probably stay low for a while, the report said. A continued slow rise in rates is expected for the rest of this year and into the next, with 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaging 3.9 percent a year from now. Since refinance activity is dependent on rates, a small increase in rates naturally shrinks the number of mortgage refinances.

Mortgage application data shows that in comparison to this summer, mortgage refinance activity is indeed slowing, but compared to last year at this time, applications are up by around 30 percent.  

Freddie Mac expects $1 trillion in refinance mortgage originations for this year, but 2017 volume may be under $600 billion. “Home purchase and home improvement mortgage activity will somewhat offset this, rising from $1 trillion in 2016 to $1.15 trillion in 2017,” the report said. “Total mortgage originations will fall about 18 percent from 2016 to 2017 in our forecast.”

Homeowners looking to lower their mortgage rate can shop for refinance lenders here.

NerdWallet daily mortgage rates are an average of the published APR with the lowest points for each loan term offered by a sampling of major national lenders. Annual percentage rate quotes reflect an interest rate plus points, fees and other expenses, providing the most accurate view of the costs a borrower might pay.

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Michael Burge is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected].