Should You Stop Paying Your Student Loans in Forbearance?

The possibility of student loan forgiveness is on the horizon, so should you stop making payments on your own loans?

That depends, but let’s take a look at where we stand so far:

  • On the campaign trail, then-candidate Joe Biden promised to wipe out at least $10,000 for student loan borrowers.
  • Now that he’s president, Biden is getting pressure from some to increase that amount to $50,000 or more. But he’s also getting pushback from other groups who aren’t in favor of wiping out any student loan debt. (More on that later.)
  • An administrative forbearance that freezes interest rates and payments for federally held student loans has been extended until Sept. 30, 2021.

So what does all this mean for you, the student loan borrower?

Depending on your loans and financial situation, you might actually be better off making larger payments right now… or none at all.

Don’t worry, we’ll explain.

Is Student Loan Forgiveness Likely to Happen?

During his campaign, Biden announced that part of his Emergency Action Plan for the economic recovery would include forgiveness of at least $10,000 in student loans for borrowers, plus additional relief for those who attended public colleges or historically Black colleges and universities.

Bur remember, not all campaign promises come true.

Some groups have been pressuring the Biden administration to up the limit to $50,000 in student loan debt or wipe out all $1.7 trillion outstanding student loan debt. And there are plenty of other factions who aren’t in favor of forgiving student loans at all and instead want to focus on relief efforts for other parts of the economy.

With all these plans on the table, there’s no guarantee of anything, according to Betsy Mayotte, president of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors, a non-profit organization that offers free student loan advice and dispute resolution assistance to borrowers.

“I’ve been working in the student loan industry for over 20 years, and we’re closer to some sort of broad student loan forgiveness than we’ve ever been before,” she said. “With that said, I think the chances of broad student loan forgiveness are very, very slim still.”

And even if some sort of forgiveness does come to pass, it’s highly unlikely the federal government will simply wipe out all debt in one broad stroke.

It’s important to be realistic about which groups of people and types of loans will be forgiven, said Steve Muszynski, the founder and CEO of Splash Financial, a student loan refinancing marketplace.

“What President Biden campaigned on was a $10,000 forgiveness amount for select groups,” he said. “Select groups tend to be people that didn’t get an advanced degree, maybe make less than $125,000 a year, as an example.”

We’re closer to some sort of broad student loan forgiveness than we’ve ever been before. With that said, I think the chances of broad student loan forgiveness are very, very slim still.

However, one thing that is certain right now is that federally held student loans are in forbearance — interest rates are automatically set to 0% and all payments are suspended.

Forbearance was originally part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act — aka the CARES Act — passed in March 2020 and extended a few times to its current deadline of Sept. 30, 2021.

So with forbearance a sure thing and forgiveness a possibility, should you be making payments on your student loans? Let’s look at the factors that can help you decide.

6 Questions to Ask Before You Stop Paying Student Loans in Forbearance

Before you start celebrating that your student loans are going to disappear, let’s do a reality check and figure out how forgiveness might affect you.

1. What Type of Student Loans Do You Have?

Not all student loans are eligible for forbearance — and it’s highly unlikely they will all be eligible for forgiveness.

The forbearance covers all loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education, which includes Direct Loans, subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans, Parent and Graduate Plus loans and consolidation loans.

If you have private student loans, these loans are not covered by the administrative forbearance period and there’s almost zero chance they’ll be wiped out by a mass forgiveness.

Not sure who owns your student loans or how much you owe? You can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 433-3243 and check out this guide to help you get organized.

If you have a mix of private and federally held student loans, your best strategy may be to use the money you’d normally pay toward federal student loans to pay off more of the private loans still actively accruing interest.

If you qualify, refinancing private student loans could help you lower your interest rate and monthly payments.

“If you have anything over, say, 5 or 6% on your private loans, it doesn’t hurt to look,” Mayotte said.

2. How Much Do You Owe?

The amount you owe may help you decide if you should use the forbearance period to make a dent — or wait.

Even if $10,000 in forgiveness is on the horizon, you’d still be responsible for any remaining debt over that limit.

“If you can afford to make the payments and you owe more than $10,000, you should absolutely be taking advantage of the 0% interest period to chip away at your debt,” Mayotte said. “But there’s no harm in taking that extra amount that you would be making in payments and socking it away somewhere you could earn some interest.”

As the forbearance deadline approaches, you can then use those saved payment amounts to make a lump-sum payment.

If you have less than $10,000 in student loans? Then it might pay to wait out the forbearance period, since forgiveness could potentially be approved in this time period.

However, you should continue to set aside the extra amount you would’ve paid and make the lump sum payment at the end of forbearance — if forgiveness doesn’t end up panning out.

3. Are You on the PSLF Track?

If you’re pursuing Public Service Loan Forgiveness — you have a direct loan, you’re on an eligible repayment plan and you work for a qualifying employer — then you can and should take advantage of the relief period by making no payments.

Those zero-dollar payments still count toward your total to earn forgiveness, and if your loans happen to be forgiven during this period, all the better.

Despite their eligibility, Mayotte said she knows of numerous cases where PSFL participants have continued to make payments — which might be understandable given the numerous issues that have beleaguered PSLF over the years (like borrowers discovering years’ worth of payments didn’t count because they were on the wrong repayment plan).

If you have been making payments since March, you can reach out to your servicer to request a refund for those payments.

But if you’ve lost your job or have had your hours cut to less than the 30-hour minimum, your non-payments will not count toward forgiveness (but you still don’t have to pay while in the forbearance period).

PSLF does not require consecutive payments, so you can still pause on payments if you think you’ll return to your non-profit or public sector job.

However, if you think it’s unlikely you’ll get eligible employment again, you may want to take advantage of the forbearance period to start paying on the loan. At the very least, you should update your income (if you’ve lost your job) on your income-driven repayment plan.

4. What Kind of Degree Do You Have?

If you have loans that you took out to get an advanced degree, don’t bank on forgiveness.

“People with advanced degrees are unlikely to get mass forgiveness, if any forgiveness, from the government because you’re seen as part of a society that has greater upward mobility,” Muszynski said.

Although undergrad loan debt may still be eligible for forgiveness, your graduate Plus loans are less likely to be included in a forgiveness plan. They’re also likely to have higher interest rates, which means the forbearance period is a good time to be putting a dent in that debt.

However, as with all federally held loans, Mayotte said she’d advise against refinancing into a private loan.

“I’m running into a lot of people right now who are kicking themselves because in the last couple years they did refinance their federal loan into private,” she said. “Now they can’t get the 0% and if [the government] does forgiveness, it’s not going to happen for them.

“They’re begging for a way to take it back, and you can’t.”

5. How Close Are You to Retirement?

If you’re nearing retirement and paying on student loans — whether it’s your own loans or those you took out to pay for your kids’ education — forgiveness may potentially help you wipe out some of your loans. Focusing on saving as much as you can for retirement may be the better bet during this forbearance period.

“Retirement should always come first as far as deciding where your money goes,” Mayotte said.

If you default on student loans after forbearance ends, the loans can be sent to collections, and your wages, tax returns and Social Security benefits may be garnished up to 15% for repayment.

But solely relying on forgiveness is probably not the best strategy, especially if you have more than $10,000 in loans or took out loans to get an advanced degree. In that case, you should start preparing for a future with a fixed income by aggressively paying off the student loan debt and looking into an income-driven repayment plan.

“Understand that you might be 80 years old when the loan is finally gone but at least the payments are going to be affordable and [they’re] not going to change,” Mayotte said.

6. What Does the Rest of Your Financial Situation Look Like?

All of these strategies for getting the most bang for your buck may not mean much if you’re struggling to pay the bills. If you are in a situation where you need the money to pay for your basic needs, take advantage of the forbearance period to get yourself back on your feet and to start building an emergency fund.

Also take into account how using this time to pay off student loans might help your stress levels vs. betting on forgiveness.

“Student loan debt can feel suffocating, and getting out of it can be a mental health benefit,” Muszynski said. “It’s important for people to recognize how they think about their debt, and whether they would prefer to be rid of it so they could be healthier from a mental perspective.”

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then catch her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

10 Cities Where Black Americans Fare Best Economically

Where Black Americans Fare Best Economically – 2021 Study – SmartAsset

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Nationwide, when it comes to wealth and personal finance success, Black Americans generally have less. Census data from 2019 shows that the median Black household income is 33% lower than the overall median household income and the Black homeownership rate is 22 percentage points lower than the general homeownership rate. Data on wealth accumulation depicts even starker disparities: Black families’ net worth is 87% lower than that of white families and 33% lower than that of Hispanic families, according to the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances.

Though the national picture is less than encouraging, economic outcomes for Black Americans are better in some places than others. In this study, we determined the cities where Black Americans fared best economically leading up to 2020. We compared 129 cities across six metrics: median Black household income, Black homeownership rate, Black labor force participation rate, poverty rate for Black residents, percentage of Black adults with a bachelor’s degree and percentage of business owners who are Black. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, check out the Data and Methodology section below.

Key Findings

  • Six of the top 10 cities are located in Texas, Florida and North Carolina. These cities are Grand Prairie and Garland, Texas; Pembroke Pines and Miramar, Florida; and Charlotte and Durham, North Carolina. In both of the Texas and Florida cities, the median Black household income is higher than $61,000 and the Black homeownership rate is 46% or higher – compared to study-wide averages of about $43,000 and 35%, respectively. Meanwhile, Charlotte and Durham rank particularly well for our education and metro area business ownership metrics. In both North Carolina locales, more than 30% of Black adults have their bachelor’s degree and at least 3% of businesses are Black-owned – compared to study-wide averages of about 23% and 2%, respectively.
  • Preliminary 2020 estimates show that Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by not only the health impacts of COVID-19, but also its corresponding economic effects. The regional economic effects of COVID-19 on Black Americans are difficult to determine due to insufficient localized data, but the available national data paints a grim picture: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that as of December 2020, the Black unemployment rate was 3.9
    and 3.2 percentage points higher than the white and overall unemployment rates, respectively. Additionally, the Black labor force participation rate was about 2.0 percentage points lower than both white and overall participation rates.

1. Virginia Beach (tie)

Virginia Beach, Virginia ranks in the top 10 cities for four of the six metrics we considered. It has the seventh-highest median Black household income, at roughly $65,600, and the sixth-highest 2019 Black labor force participation rate, at 78.7%. Additionally, Census Bureau data shows that the 2019 poverty rate for Black residents in Virginia Beach is 10%, fourth-lowest in our study. In the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metro area, more than 5% of businesses are Black-owned, the seventh-highest percentage for this metric overall.

1. Grand Prairie, TX (tie)

Grand Prairie, Texas ties with Virginia Beach, Virginia as the city where Black Americans fare best economically. It has the fourth-highest Black labor force participation rate (at 79.9%) and the lowest Black poverty rate (at less than 5%) of all 129 cities in our study. Additionally, more than a third of Black residents in Grand Prairie have their bachelor’s degree and the median Black household income is more than $63,000. The city ranks sixth and 10th out of 129 for those two metrics, respectively.

3. Aurora, IL (tie)

Aurora, Illinois ranks in the top third of all 129 cities for five of the six metrics we considered, falling behind only for its metro area’s relatively low concentration of Black-owned businesses. It has the fourth-highest Black homeownership rate (about 52%), sixth-highest median Black household income (about $65,900) and 10th-lowest Black poverty rate (11.9%). Aurora’s Black labor force participation rate is 73.5%, ranking 15th overall for this metric. Moreover, more than 29% of Black residents in the city have their bachelor’s degree, ranking 26th overall.

3. Pembroke Pines, FL (tie)

Just north of Miami, Florida’s Pembroke Pines ties for the No. 3 spot. Across all 129 cities, it has the second-highest Black homeownership rate – 60.20% – and the sixth-lowest 2019 Black poverty rate – 10.6%. Additionally, incomes for Black households are relatively high. In 2019, the median Black household income was about $61,500, the 11th-highest in our study.

5. Miramar, FL

The Black homeownership rate in Miramar, Florida is the highest in our study, at 68.07%. This is about 26 percentage points higher than the 2019 national Black homeownership rate, which is approximately 42%. Miramar additionally ranks in the top 15 cities for three other metrics: its high median Black household income (about $66,300), its high Black labor force participation rate (74.1%) and its relatively low Black poverty rate (7.9%).

6. Charlotte, NC

Though the median Black household income in Charlotte, North Carolina – at a little more than $46,300 – is relatively low, Charlotte ranks in the top third of cities for the other five metrics we considered. It has the 28th-highest Black homeownership rate (41.45%), the 18th-highest Black labor force participation rate (73.0%) and the 14th-lowest poverty rate for Black residents (13.6%). Additionally, more than 30% of Black adults have their bachelor’s degree and almost 4% of businesses in the larger Charlotte metro area are Black-owned – both of which rank within the top 25 out of all 129 cities in the study.

7. Garland, TX

The Black homeownership rate in Garland, Texas is the fifth-highest in our study, at 50.98%. This city has the 11th-highest Black labor force participation rate, at 75.8%. It also ranks in the top 15 for its median Black household income ($60,030) and the percentage of Black adults with a bachelor’s degree (32.5%). Garland falls the most behind when it comes to the poverty rate for Black residents, which was 23.7% in 2019. That’s 1.2% higher than the national average for Black Americans and the worst of any city in our top 10.

8. Durham, NC

Only about two hours northeast of Charlotte, Durham, North Carolina takes the eighth spot on our list. The city ranks particularly well for its percentage of Black adults with a bachelor’s degree (35.2%) and percentage of Black-owned businesses in the larger Durham-Chapel Hill metro area (4.7%). Additionally, the Black labor force participation rate is the 30th-highest across all 129 cities in the study, at 69.4%. The poverty rate for Black residents is 35th-lowest overall, at 18.9%.

9. Enterprise, NV

Enterprise, Nevada had the fifth-highest 2019 Black labor force participation rate (79.0%), the 16th-highest 2019 median Black household income (about $58,500) and 23rd-best 2019 Black homeownership rate (roughly 43%) of all 129 cities in our study. Enterprise falls behind, however, when it comes to the number of Black-owned businesses in the larger Las Vegas metro area, at less than 2%. The city ranks 67th out of 129 for this metric.

10. Elk Grove, CA

The median household income for Black residents in Elk Grove, California is a little more than $76,300, the second-highest in our study (ranking behind only Rancho Cucamonga, California, where the median household income is almost $92,000). Elk Grove also ranks in the top 10 cities for its relatively high Black homeownership rate (52.51%) and the relatively high percentage of Black adults with a bachelor’s degree (35.1%). But like in Enterprise, Nevada, few businesses in the Elk Grove area are Black-owned. Annual Business Survey data from 2018 shows that less than 2% of employer firms in the greater Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade metro area are Black-owned.

Data and Methodology

To find the cities where Black Americans fare best economically, SmartAsset looked at the 200 largest cities in the U.S. Only 129 of those cities had complete data available, and we compared them across six metrics:

  • Median Black household income. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Black homeownership rate. This is the number of Black owner-occupied housing units divided by the number of Black occupied housing units. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Black labor force participation rate. This is for the Black population 16 years and older. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Poverty rate for Black residents. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Percentage of Black adults with a bachelor’s degree. This is for the Black population 25 years and older. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
  • Percentage of business owners who are Black. This is the number of Black-owned businesses with paid employees divided by the number of businesses with paid employees. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2018 Annual Business Survey and is at the metro area level.

To determine our final list, we ranked each city in every metric, giving a full weighting to all metrics. We then found each city’s average ranking and used the average to determine a final score. The city with the highest average ranking received a score of 100. The city with the lowest average ranking received a score of 0.

Editors’ Note: SmartAsset published this study in celebration and recognition of Black History Month. Protests for racial justice and the outsized impact of COVID-19 on people of color have highlighted the social and economic injustice that many Americans continue to face. We are aiming to raise awareness surrounding economic inequities and provide personal finance resources and information to all individuals.

Financial Tips for Black Americans

  • See if homeownership makes sense. The Black homeownership rate is 22 percentage points lower than the general homeownership rate. Deciding whether or not to buy is often difficult. SmartAsset’s rent or buy calculator can help you compare the costs to see which one makes sense for your financial situation. Additionally, if you want to figure out how much you can afford to buy a house, our home-buying calculator will help you break down the target price for your income.
  • Some kind of retirement account is better than none. The Federal Reserve says that Black Americans are less likely to have a retirement account than white Americans. According to their 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances, 65% of white middle-aged families have at least one retirement account, while only 44% of Black families in the same age group have one. Even though 401(k)s are a popular retirement plan because employers could match a percentage of your contributions, an IRA could also be another great opportunity to boost your savings. In 2021, the IRA contribution limit is $6,000 for people under 50 and $7,000 for people age 50 and older.
  • Consider a financial advisor. A financial advisor can help you make smarter financial decisions to be in better control of your money. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors, get started now.

Questions about our study? Contact us at press@smartasset.com.

Photo credits: ©iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages, ©iStock.com/LeoPatrizi

Stephanie Horan, CEPF® Stephanie Horan is a data journalist at SmartAsset. A Certified Educator of Personal Finance (CEPF®), she sources and analyzes data to write studies relating to a variety of topics including mortgage, retirement and budgeting. Before coming to SmartAsset, she worked as an analyst at an asset management firm. Stephanie graduated from Williams College with a degree in Mathematics. Originally from Philadelphia, she has always been a Yankees fan and currently lives in New York.
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Mortgage and refinance rates today, February 25, 2021

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates nudged higher yet again yesterday. Of course, these rates remain exceptionally low by historical standards and are at dream levels for most. But they’re not like they were in 2020 and early January.

First thing, it was looking likely that mortgage rates will rise again today, partly because this morning’s weekly job figures were better than many expected. Read on for a fuller analysis.

Find and lock a low rate (Feb 26th, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 2.982% 2.985% +0.02%
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.488% 2.497% Unchanged
Conventional 20 year fixed 2.894% 2.901% -0.03%
Conventional 10 year fixed 2.556% 2.58% -0.01%
30 year fixed FHA 2.762% 3.438% +0.02%
15 year fixed FHA 2.517% 3.099% Unchanged
5 year ARM FHA 2.5% 3.201% Unchanged
30 year fixed VA 2.372% 2.544% 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 (Feb 26th, 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?

On the one hand, investors want to believe that the pandemic will soon be over and the economy will boom. And they like that’s looking increasingly probable. But, on the other, they fear that a boom will unleash inflation, something that very much bothers those who hold fixed-interest bonds — including mortgage-backed securities.

The trouble is, both that belief and that fear tend to push up mortgage rates. And it’s that double-whammy that’s currently driving those rates higher.

Maybe some momentous news will come along that drags mortgage rates lower again. But it’s hard to imagine what might do so quickly. But read on for something that just possibly could.

Still, 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, with so much uncertainty at the moment, your instincts could easily turn out to be as good as mine — or better. So be guided by your gut and your personal tolerance for risk.

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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 edged up to 1.45% from 1.43%. (Bad 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 mostly 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 rose to $63.02 from $62.25 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates* because energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.) 
  • Gold prices inched higher to $1,785 from $1,784 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 — Climbed to 69 from 57 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 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. The Fed is now a huge player and some days can overwhelm investor sentiment.

So use markets only as a rough guide. Because they have to be exceptionally strong (rates are likely to rise) or weak (they could fall) to rely on them. But, with that caveat, so far mortgage rates today look likely to move higher.

Find and lock a low rate (Feb 26th, 2021)

Important notes on today’s mortgage rates

Here are some things you need to know:

  1. The Fed’s ongoing interventions in the mortgage market (way over $1 trillion) should put continuing downward pressure on these rates. But it can’t work miracles all the time. And read “For once, the Fed DOES affect mortgage rates. Here’s why” if you want to understand this aspect of what’s happening
  2. 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
  3. Only “top-tier” borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you’ll see advertised
  4. 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
  5. When rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
  6. 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

I’m expecting mortgage rates to rise today. But, as always, that could change as the day progresses. Indeed, such intraday swings have become an irritating feature of markets.

Yesterday and recently, we’ve been saying that mortgage rates are unlikely to fall soon, absent some terrible news, such as a vaccine-resistant strain of SARS-CoV-2 emerging. Well, also yesterday, The New York Times reported:

A new form of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly in New York City, and it carries a worrisome mutation that may weaken the effectiveness of vaccines, two teams of researchers have found.

The new variant, called B.1.526, first appeared in samples collected in the city in November. By the middle of this month, it accounted for about one in four viral sequences appearing in a database shared by scientists.


A New Coronavirus Variant Is Spreading in New York, Researchers Report — NYT, Feb. 24, 2021

The research is yet to be peer-reviewed and may turn out to be nothing. But the report does underline the uncertainty that we all have to contend with at the moment.

If I were you, I wouldn’t delay locking just on the basis of one story. It could take months before markets take the threat seriously — and even then only if it proves accurate. In the meantime, it currently looks more likely that rates will rise or remain close to current levels between now and when you have to close.

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 rates then rose. And Freddie’s Feb. 25 report (today) puts that weekly average at 2.97%, up from the previous week’s 2.81%, and the highest it’s been for a year.

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 each quarter of 2021 (Q1/21, Q2/21, Q3/21 and Q4/21).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s and the MBA’s were updated on Feb. 18 and 19 respectively. But Freddie now publishes forecasts quarterly and its figures are from mid-January:

Forecaster Q1/21 Q2/21 Q3/21 Q4/21
Fannie Mae 2.8% 2.8% 2.9% 2.9%
Freddie Mac 2.9% 2.9% 3.0% 3.0%
MBA 2.8% 3.1% 3.3% 3.4%

However, given so many unknowables, the current crop of forecasts may be even more speculative than usual. And there’s certainly a widening spread as the year progresses.

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 (Feb 26th, 2021)

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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.

Source: themortgagereports.com

Chocolate Brown Home Decor Is Trending Now — Here’s How To Try It – The Zoe Report

According to Pantone, 2021 is all about Ultimate Gray and Illuminating — but if you ask interior designers, there’s an entirely different hue that’s invading homes of late. Chocolate brown home decor is having a moment, and experts believe that’s because the shade manages to be neutral while adding a little drama, depending on how you use it.

The color — which has also been popping up on the nails of nearly every influencer — may be especially hot right now, but it’s also a forever classic for moody, elegant interiors. “I wouldn’t call it a trend, but rather, a renaissance,” says Lance Thomas of Thomas Guy Interiors. “I think people are realizing that gray isn’t the only neutral one can use to ground a space. I think brown, as a neutral, can provide comfort and a humble confidence to a room. It warms up the room without screaming for attention; playing best-supporting actress to bold design choices elsewhere. Brown is the new gray.”

Because of this versatility, even deep browns can be used in a variety of home decor styles and in any size room. For example, Cara Woodhouse of Cara Woodhouse Interiors recently designed a powder room for a client that was bathed in brown tones. “I have noticed that clients love creating a moody space with lots of character and this brown shade is the perfect play on that,” she shares. And according to Woodhouse you can achieve the effect in big or small ways — from wall paint color to antiques. “I say don’t be afraid,” she says. “You can start with just paint on the walls that can always be repainted! You don’t have to do an entire sofa but you can lighten things up with a white sofa and then add some fun accessories or some cozy velvet brown pillows!”

Want even more ideas for designer-approved ways to bring chocolate into your home? Ahead find expert tips for trying the hue on your walls, as an accent, or even as a dramatic statement piece, so there’s a little something for every kind of space.

We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Chocolate Brown Home Decor: For The Walls

Putting a deep, bold color like chocolate on your walls is admittedly intimidating. But if you’re up to the challenge, designers recommend a few ways to do it well. Firstly, it’s probably best used in a room that you want to feel a little more moody — like your home bar. “Shades of brown in a bar room (which has grown very popular this year due to the pandemic) create a feeling and a mood for space,” says Woodhouse. “It definitely encapsulates you and creates an experience.”

Worried about the size of the space? Don’t be, says Rebecca Johnston of RJohnston Interiors, who explains that painting a small room dark actually ups the coziness factor. “Try painting a nook a dark color and make it a cozy space. Start small and don’t be afraid,” she says. And Mel Bean of Mel Bean Interiors agrees. “Choose a space that is enclosed (a bedroom or home office) rather than an open space such as a combo living, dining, and kitchen, ideally with good natural light, and embrace chocolate in your wall color,” the designer explains.

If you want to amp up the drama, follow Thomas’ advice and choose a paint that has some sheen. “Sheen is everything,” he says. “Imagine the warm hug of a brown wall color, but now in a lacquer finish. Then imagine it covering all of the walls, the moldings, and the ceiling for a monolithic effect. Don’t be afraid to take it there.”

Chocolate Brown Home Decor: For An Accent Piece

“Some easy ways to integrate chocolate tones without a major commitment are through layering accessories, such as pillows, throw blankets, and accessories into your existing interior,” Bean shares. “A textural brown throw combined with patterned pillows with dominant browns could be the perfect tie-in to your existing color palette!”

Besides textiles, the designer suggests using wood as a way of introducing some chocolate accents. “Another alternative is to bring in wood elements that carry the rich brown through the room,” she adds. “I have antique wood carved sculptures in my home that have this rich tone! It could also be a side table, wooden box, or bowls.”

Finally, as Johnston reminds, don’t forget your floors as a place to bring in this inviting shade. “Go with deep browns and warm greys in a rug to ground your space,” she says.

Chocolate Brown Home Decor: For A Statement Piece

For those not afraid to go big, Thomas says an antique leather chair or ottoman is a great option. “There is no better piece of furniture than an old chocolate leather chair,” he offers. “Its weathered and warm brown tones add a calming confidence while creating a beautiful tension to anything new in the room.”

If leather doesn’t work for your lifestyle, Bean explains that chocolate works well in a variety of other textiles, like a velvet sofa for example. “This can feel like a big commitment, but chocolate brown can make an incredible ‘base’ in upholstery to layer from and is really so versatile,” she says. “A textural brown sofa can be layered with neutral textures and earth tones to be taken in the casual and natural direction so many love right now. But it can also be bold, with vibrant velvet pillows in tones that can be carried throughout the room to a more dramatic effect!”

Source: thezoereport.com

22 Cities Where Home Appreciation Is Spiking

Couple looking at their old home
Photo by Hurst Photo / Shutterstock.com

Extreme demand for homes is pushing home values up at a rate not seen since before the Great Recession, a new Zillow report finds.

Several trends — including new millennial homebuyers, record-low interest rates, trends related to the coronavirus pandemic and the relatively small pool of homes for sale — have converged to heat up the market. The hot sellers’ market is a contrast to flat growth in rental prices nationally, as we reported in “Rent Prices Have Dropped in These 9 Formerly Hot Markets.”

The Zillow Home Value Index rose 9.1% from January 2020 to January 2021, the report says. Year-over-year home value growth hasn’t been this high since June 2006.

That rate may even pick up a bit: Zillow economists expect values to rise 10.1% from January 2021 to January 2022.

The demand has shortened the length of time that homes stay on the market, to a median of just 18 days as of mid-January. Compare that to 46 days at the same time last year and the year before.

A demographic bomb is a factor in the hot market. Millennials — defined by Zillow as Americans ages 25-34 — are entering their peak homebuying years. The number of these millennials increased by 12% — or, about 4.9 million people — between 2010 and 2020.

The generation’s size adds to the housing demand. Also, younger buyers are less likely than older ones to sell a previous home when they buy, which is expected to help keep the pool of homes for sale tight.

Government-stoked low mortgage rates — averaging 2.74% for a fixed-rate 30-year mortgage in January — are driving demand as buyers try to seize the opportunity to either pay less for a home or buy a more expensive one than they otherwise could.

Says Zillow:

“An extraordinary number of home buyers, with budgets supercharged by rock-bottom mortgage interest rates, are competing over a limited supply of homes for sale.”

The pandemic is a final factor. Many workers are now clocking in virtually instead of at the office, driving some to seek larger homes and others to move to smaller, more-affordable markets, Zillow says.

While home values increased in all of the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. from January 2020 to January 2021, some have seen steeper growth rates than others.

Here are the 22 major markets where home values grew 10% or more, along with their typical home price and their home price growth rate:

  • Phoenix: $335,975 (up 17.1% from January 2020 to January 2021)
  • San Jose, California: $1,314,799 (up 14.2%)
  • Austin, Texas: $384,446 (up 13.7%)
  • Salt Lake City: $436,390 (up 13.7%)
  • San Diego: $689,361 (up 13.5%)
  • Seattle: $594,223 (up 12.8%)
  • Tampa, Florida: $257,499 (up 12.8%)
  • Milwaukee: $219,381 (up 12.1%)
  • Cincinnati: $208,352 (up 12%)
  • Providence, Rhode Island: $357,761 (up 12%)
  • Riverside, California: $433,226 (up 11.7%)
  • Buffalo, New York: $193,583 (up 11.4%)
  • Sacramento, California: $478,817 (up 11.3%)
  • Indianapolis: $204,141 (up 11.3%)
  • Memphis, Tennessee: $174,063 (up 11.3%)
  • Cleveland: $176,069 (up 11.1%)
  • Charlotte, North Carolina: $265,397 (up 10.9%)
  • Columbus, Ohio: $234,276 (up 10.8%)
  • Philadelphia: $277,775 (up 10.6%)
  • Kansas City, Missouri: $227,059 (up 10.6%)
  • Pittsburgh: $178,282 (up 10.4%)
  • Detroit: $198,979 (up 10.3%)

If you’re in the market for a new home or refinancing for your existing home, check out the mortgage rate comparison tools in Money Talks News’ Solutions Center.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

Stock Market Today: Stocks Tank as Interest-Rate Fears Persist

The stock market is starting to resemble a student driver, alternating between a heavy foot on the gas pedal and hard stomps on the brakes.

Investors suffered the latter Thursday, as Wall Street largely ignored a large drop in last week’s initial unemployment filings (by 111,000 claims to 730,000) and improvement in January’s durable goods orders.

Instead, attention was directed toward a continued rise in interest rates, with the 10-year Treasury yield climbing above 1.5% for the first time in roughly a year.

“Until recently, market participants have been able to digest the upward drift in long-term rates,” says Charlie Ripley, Senior Investment Strategist for Allianz Investment Management, “but it appears that the next leg up in interest rates is a bigger bite to chew.”

The major indices finished with deep gashes. Declines in Boeing (BA, -5.5%), Intel (INTC, -4.4%) and Salesforce.com (CRM, -3.9%) helped drag the Dow Jones Industrial Average 1.8% lower from its record high to 31,402. Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL, -3.5%), Facebook (FB, -3.6%) and Tesla (TSLA, -8.1%) weighed on the Nasdaq Composite, which sank 3.5% to 13,119.

James McDonald, CEO and chief investment officer of alternative investment manager Hercules Investments, explains the continued pain in tech: “Unlike other stock sectors like cyclicals, stocks in the tech sector are valued on longer-term earnings. If bond yields and borrowing costs are rising, a company’s longer-term earnings may be negatively affected.”

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The S&P 500 declined by 2.5% to 3,829.
  • The small-cap Russell 2000 was the worst of the major indices, plunging 3.7% to 2,200.
  • GameStop (GME), which went on a roller-coaster trip courtesy of Reddit traders several weeks back, was at it again, surging 18.6% after more than doubling Wednesday. However, even that was well off the 101% gains it was tracking at Thursday’s highs.
  • U.S. crude oil futures improved by 0.5% to settle at a 13-month high of $63.53 per barrel.
  • Gold futures declined by 1.3% to $1,775.40 per ounce.
  • Bitcoin prices, at $48,712 on Wednesday, finished 0.3% higher to $48,870. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

stock chart for 022521stock chart for 022521

The Silver Lining to Big Down Days

It’s hard to sugarcoat a day that saw every last S&P sector decline, most by more than 1%. But Jamie Cox, managing partner for Harris Financial Group, gives it a go:

“I’m glad to see yields rise because markets can see an end to the pandemic,” he says. “However, people forget that rates are still low, we still have structural unemployment, and that technical moves in bonds do not equal inflation.”

Also, for optimists – more specifically, optimists who still have a little cash waiting on the sideline for better prices – days like this provide a silver lining in the form of slightly less elevated valuations.

For instance, a number of the S&P 500’s best long-term bets are just too darn pricey, but strong pullbacks like these start to alleviate those excessively high valuations. Even value stocks, heavily favored by analysts in 2021, have been driven plenty higher in the year’s early innings; Thursday’s action helped cool them off a little bit.

The same goes for many COVID-recovery plays – travel and leisure stocks, battered in 2020, were popular picks heading into 2021 and have come roaring back as investors anticipate America’s economy eventually reopening. Downdrafts like today, however, provide better opportunities to get in on some of these travel names before most Americans are vaccinated and start spending their money on experiences they were denied during COVID shutdowns.

Here are five such travel stocks worth looking into.

Kyle Woodley was long BA, CRM and Bitcoin as of this writing.

Source: kiplinger.com

What a $15 Minimum Wage Means for Social Security

Workers demand $15 minimum wage
Photo by a katz / Shutterstock.com

An increase of the minimum wage to $15 could help today’s young workers when they finally claim Social Security benefits decades from now, while also increasing revenue for the Social Security program today.

Such workers could see a benefit that is up to about $5,000 higher each year in retirement than they would receive based on today’s federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, according to the organization Social Security Works.

That is because each additional dollar a worker earns potentially increases the monthly Social Security benefit amount he or she receives in retirement.

According to Social Security Works:

“If a single worker were to earn the current minimum wage her whole life, and claimed Social Security benefits in 2021 at her full retirement age, she would receive a monthly benefit of just $979.80. In contrast, if she had earned $15 an hour, her monthly benefit would be $1,409.60. That is a Social Security benefit increase of over $5,000 – $5,157.60, to be exact – each and every year for the rest of her life!”

Higher wages also mean more payroll tax revenue for the Social Security system’s coffers, which are facing a shortfall.

Payroll taxes, also known as FICA taxes, are a source of revenue for the system. Employees pay 6.2% of their wages in Social Security payroll taxes, which is matched by their employers. Self-employed workers pay the full 12.4% of their wages in Social Security payroll taxes.

So, when a worker’s wages increase, so does the amount he or she pays in Social Security payroll taxes.

As Social Security Works puts it:

“Contributions from workers’ wages, matched dollar for dollar by their employers, are Social Security’s primary source of revenue. When the minimum wage increases, Social Security’s revenue also increases. … Furthermore, updating the minimum wage increases the average level of wages nationwide, which results in more income for Social Security.”

The notion of raising the federally mandated minimum wage has been a hot topic in recent years. Many cities and states have already taken steps to raise the minimum wage in their own communities, including increases that just took effect in January, as we detail in “The Minimum Wage in Every State in 2021.” But a change at the federal level would apply to many more employers across the country.

President Joe Biden and many Democrats say they are in favor of raising the wage to $15. Republicans generally are against such a change.

A minimum wage hike currently is part of Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, but opposition — both from Republicans and at least a couple of key Democrats — could doom the wage increase, at least for now.

Recently, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office looked at the implications of the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 as introduced in the Senate in late January, which also is included in the Democrats’ relief package. This legislation would increase the federal minimum wage in increments, until it reached $15 per hour by June 2025 if passed in March. From there, the minimum wage would continue to increase at the same rate as median hourly wages.

The CBO concluded that such a measure would lift 900,000 people out of poverty by 2025, but would cost the nation 1.4 million jobs over the same time period.

The CBO also says that the Raise the Wage Act would increase the cumulative budget deficit over the 2021-2031 period by $54 billion.

Would you like to earn a higher wage? Take matters into your own hands by negotiating an increase with your employer. For tips on doing so, check out “10 Tips to Remember When Asking for a Raise.“

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

Mortgage and refinance rates today, February 24, 2021

Today’s mortgage and refinance rates 

Average mortgage rates rose yet again yesterday. But it was the smallest increase for a couple of weeks. Is that any consolation?

Unfortunately, mortgage rates look set to rise again today, perhaps appreciably.

Find and lock a low rate (Feb 25th, 2021)

Current mortgage and refinance rates 

Program Mortgage Rate APR* Change
Conventional 30 year fixed 2.966% 2.969% +0.02%
Conventional 15 year fixed 2.493% 2.502% -0.02%
Conventional 20 year fixed 2.921% 2.928% +0.03%
Conventional 10 year fixed 2.577% 2.588% Unchanged
30 year fixed FHA 2.74% 3.416% +0.05%
15 year fixed FHA 2.515% 3.097% +0.03%
5 year ARM FHA 2.5% 3.201% -0.01%
30 year fixed VA 2.375% 2.547% +0.13%
15 year fixed VA 2.25% 2.571% +0.12%
5 year ARM VA 2.5% 2.379% -0.01%
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 (Feb 25th, 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?

Clearly, the mood on Wall Street remains upbeat over the economy’s future prospects. And that (along with some fears over future inflation) is what has delivered seven rises — including some appreciable ones — and one small fall in mortgage rates over the last eight working days.

Of course, markets are notorious for swift switches in sentiment. And there are some threats to this sunny optimism in the medium term. But there are no obvious and immediate events on my radar that might trigger such a switch and bring significantly lower mortgage rates anytime soon.

So 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, with so much uncertainty at the moment, your instincts could easily turn out to be as good as mine — or better. So be guided by your gut and your personal tolerance for risk.

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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 climbed to 1.43% from 1.35%. (Bad 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 mostly 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 rose to $62.25 from $60.82 a barrel. (Bad for mortgage rates* because energy prices play a large role in creating inflation and also point to future economic activity.) 
  • Gold prices dropped to $1,784 from $1,797 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 — Nudged up to 57 from 53 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 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. The Fed is now a huge player and some days can overwhelm investor sentiment.

So use markets only as a rough guide. Because they have to be exceptionally strong (rates are likely to rise) or weak (they could fall) to rely on them. But, with that caveat, so far mortgage rates today look likely to move higher.

Find and lock a low rate (Feb 25th, 2021)

Important notes on today’s mortgage rates

Here are some things you need to know:

  1. The Fed’s ongoing interventions in the mortgage market (way over $1 trillion) should put continuing downward pressure on these rates. But it can’t work miracles all the time. And read “For once, the Fed DOES affect mortgage rates. Here’s why” if you want to understand this aspect of what’s happening
  2. 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
  3. Only “top-tier” borrowers (with stellar credit scores, big down payments and very healthy finances) get the ultralow mortgage rates you’ll see advertised
  4. 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
  5. When rate changes are small, some lenders will adjust closing costs and leave their rate cards the same
  6. 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

I’m expecting mortgage rates to rise today. But, as always, that could change as the day progresses. Indeed, such intraday swings have become an irritating feature of markets recently.

As I said earlier, there are some threats to the cheerfulness that’s seized investors and pushed up mortgage rates. But they may not happen soon — or at all. They include the:

  • Slowing down of the COVID-19 vaccination program in ways that delay further economic recovery
  • Failure of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package
  • Possible future emergence of a new variation (or mutation) of SARS-CoV-2 that’s resistant to existing vaccines
  • Crashing of the stock market, which some financial commentators believe may be on the cards

Any of those (and, no doubt, other unpredictable and mostly unwelcome events) would probably send mortgage rates significantly lower. But you have to ask yourself how likely it is one will arise before you have to close on your mortgage.

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 rates then rose. And Freddie’s Feb. 18 report puts that weekly average at 2.81%, up from the previous week’s 2.73%, and the highest it’s been since mid-November. But even that weekly average fails to take into account all the rises we saw that week, nor ones this week.

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 each quarter of 2021 (Q1/21, Q2/21, Q3/21 and Q4/21).

The numbers in the table below are for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. Fannie’s and the MBA’s were updated on Feb. 18 and 19 respectively. But Freddie now publishes forecasts quarterly and its figures are from mid-January:

Forecaster Q1/21 Q2/21 Q3/21 Q4/21
Fannie Mae 2.8% 2.8% 2.9% 2.9%
Freddie Mac 2.9% 2.9% 3.0% 3.0%
MBA 2.8% 3.1% 3.3% 3.4%

However, given so many unknowables, the current crop of forecasts may be even more speculative than usual. And there’s certainly a widening spread as the year progresses.

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 (Feb 25th, 2021)

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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.

Source: themortgagereports.com