Today’s Mortgage Rates & Trends, May 16, 2022

30-Year, 15-Year Swing Again

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Mortgage rates continued to bounce around under their recent highs, inching back up in yet another change of direction.

The average rate offered for a conventional 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 5.71% from 5.63% the previous business day, marking the sixth change of direction in May alone. Last month the average reached 6.19%, its highest point since at least 2019, and likely much farther back. (Our daily mortgage rate data only goes back to April 2021, but our data on yearly highs and lows dates back to 2020, so we know rates weren’t higher in 2020, and if other measures are any indicator, may have hit their highest point in over a decade.)

The average 15-year rate rose to 4.96% from 4.86% the previous business day. Its recent peak was 5.26%, also the highest since at least 2019. 

Fixed mortgage rates tend to track the direction of 10-year Treasury yields, which usually rise with heightened inflation fears (and fall when those fears subside). Yields that spiked earlier this year have leveled off a bit amid indications that relentlessly higher inflation rates may have hit their peak.

During the pandemic, relatively low rates bolstered buying power, allowing house hunters to buy more expensive homes with the same monthly budget and helping to fuel a fiercely competitive residential real estate boom characterized by rapidly rising prices. But now that interest rates have spiked, the cost is increasingly putting homes out of reach for prospective buyers. Freddie Mac’s weekly measure of the average 30-year rate is at its highest point since 2009, though it's still relatively low compared to the double-digits of the 1980s and early 1990s.

Note

Mortgage rates, like the rates on any loan, are going to depend on your credit score, with lower rates going to people with better scores, all else being equal. The rates shown reflect the average offered by more than 200 of the country’s top lenders, assuming the borrower has a FICO credit score of 700-759 (within the “good” or “very good” range) and a loan-to-value ratio of 80%. They also assume the borrower doesn’t purchase any mortgage or “discount” points. Other measures of rates may differ because they assume that the borrower does purchase points or has a higher credit score. These measures may also track the lowest possible rate advertised (rather than the average,) or reflect data collected once a week rather than daily.

Borrowers pay discount points, or upfront fees, to obtain a lower interest rate, spending more initially to save in the long run. Whether or not you should pay points depends on how long you plan to keep the loan. Here’s how to calculate that.

30-Year Mortgage Rates Climb

A 30-year fixed mortgage is by far the most common type of mortgage because it offers a consistent and relatively low monthly payment. (Shorter-term fixed mortgages have higher payments because the borrowed money is paid back more quickly.) 

Besides conventional 30-year mortgages, some are backed by the Federal Housing Authority or the Department of Veterans Affairs. FHA loans offer borrowers with lower credit scores or a smaller down payment a better deal than they might otherwise get; VA loans let current or past members of the military and their families skip a down payment.

  • 30-year fixed: The average rate rose to 5.71%, up from 5.63% the previous business day. A week ago, it was 5.92%. For every $100,000 borrowed, monthly payments would cost about $581.03, or $13.39 less than a week ago.
  • 30-year fixed (FHA): The average rate rose to 5.60%, up from 5.45% the previous business day. A week ago, it was 5.71%. For every $100,000 borrowed, monthly payments would cost about $574.08, or $6.95 less than a week ago.
  • 30-year fixed (VA): The average rate rose to 5.56%, up from 5.42% the previous business day. A week ago, it was 5.68%. For every $100,000 borrowed, monthly payments will cost about $571.56, or $7.57 less than a week ago.

Note

All else being equal, a higher rate increases your monthly payment, but there are other parts of the equation. For example, if you know your monthly payment can’t be more than $2,000, you could get a $383,500 home at a 3.5% rate or a $366,500 home at a 4% rate. Both assume a 30-year loan, a 20% down payment, typical homeowners’ insurance costs, and property taxes. To do the math specific to your situation, use our mortgage calculator below.

15-Year Mortgage Rate Rises

The major advantage of a 15-year fixed mortgage is that it offers a lower interest rate than the 30-year and you’re paying off your loan more quickly, so your total borrowing costs are far lower. But for the same reason—that the loan is paid back over a shorter time frame—the monthly payments will be higher.

  • 15-year fixed: The average rate rose to 4.96%, up from 4.86% the previous business day. A week ago, it was 5.06%. For every $100,000 borrowed, monthly payments would cost about $788.71, or $5.21 less than a week ago.

Note

Besides fixed-rate mortgages, there are adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), where rates change based on a benchmark index tied to Treasury bonds or other interest rates. Most adjustable-rate mortgages are actually hybrids, where the rate is fixed for a period of time and then adjusted periodically. For example, a common type of ARM is a 5/1 loan, which has a fixed rate for five years (the “5” in “5/1”) and is then adjusted every one year (the “1”)

Jumbo Mortgage Rates Fall or Hold Steady

Jumbo loans, which allow you to borrow bigger amounts for more expensive properties, tend to have slightly higher interest rates than loans for more standard amounts. Jumbo means over the limit that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are willing to buy from lenders, and that limit went up in 2022. For a single-family home, it’s now $647,200 (except in Hawaii, Alaska, and a few federally designated high-cost markets, where the limit is $970,800).

  • Jumbo 30-year fixed: The average rate fell to 4.90% from 5.02% the previous business day. A week ago, it was 5.15%. For every $100,000 borrowed, monthly payments would cost about $530.73, or $15.30 less than a week ago.
  • Jumbo 15-year fixed: The average rate remained at 4.90%, unchanged from the previous business day. A week ago, it was 5.02%. For every $100,000 borrowed, monthly payments would cost about $785.59, or $6.25 less than a week ago.

Refinance Rates Increase

Refinancing an existing mortgage tends to be slightly more expensive than getting a new one, especially in a low-rate environment. 

  • 30-year fixed: The average rate to refinance rose to 6.00% from 5.88% the previous business day. A week ago, it was 6.32%. For every $100,000 borrowed, monthly payments would cost about $599.55, or $20.73 less than a week ago.
  • 15-year fixed: The average rate to refinance rose to 5.21% from 5.15% the previous business day. A week ago, it was 5.38%. For every $100,000 borrowed, monthly payments would cost about $801.78, or $8.95 less than a week ago.

Methodology

Our rates for “today” reflect national averages provided by more than 200 of the country's top lenders one business day ago, and the “previous” is the rate provided the business day before that. Similarly, the week earlier references compare the data from five business days earlier (so bank holidays are excluded.) The rates assume a loan-to-value ratio of 80% and a borrower with a FICO credit score of 700 to 759—within the “good” to “very good” range. They’re representative of the rates customers would see in actual quotes from lenders, based on their qualifications, and may vary from advertised teaser rates.

Have a question, comment, or story to share? You can reach Diccon at dhyatt@thebalance.com.

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Additional research by
David Rubin
David J. Rubin

David J. Rubin is a fact checker for The Balance with more than 30 years in editing and publishing. The majority of his experience lies within the legal and financial spaces. At legal publisher Matthew Bender & Co./LexisNexis, he was a manager of R&D, programmer analyst, and senior copy editor.

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Sources
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1.  CNBC. “US10Y: US 10 Year Treasury - Stock Price, Quote and News.”

  2. Freddie Mac. “Mortgage Rates.”

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