Do Mortgage Rates Change Daily?

August 10, 2009

mortgage rates

It’s that time again folks, where I answer your burning mortgage questions.

The latest mortgage Q&A: “Do mortgage rates change daily?”

Mortgage rates are hot news right now, what with them hovering around all-time lows and now beginning to inch higher.

And it seems everyone is interested to see if they can save a little money on their current mortgage payment via a refinance or get into a new home with a super low rate.

Today's Rates

But while mortgage rates have been historically low, they’ve also been extremely volatile as a result of the recent mortgage crisis and all the subsequent government intervention. Not to mention the economy at large.

So when shopping for a home loan, it’s now more important than ever to keep a close eye on loan rates, because they can and will change daily (learn more about how mortgage rates are determined).

The rate you receive is one of the most important aspects of the home financing process, so you’ll want to get it right. Heck, it can even make or break your home buying decision!

Mortgage Rate Sheets Are Printed Monday Through Friday

  • New lender rate sheets are released daily
  • Monday through Friday unless it’s a holiday
  • Sometimes interest rates will be different
  • Sometimes they’ll remain unchanged
  • Depending on what transpired the day before or the morning of

Each morning, Monday through Friday, banks and their loan officers get a fresh “mortgage rate sheet” that contains the pricing for that day. I know because when I first started in the industry, I got tasked with handing them out to fellow employees.

I’ll never forget kicking the printer every time it broke, which as far as I can remember was also Monday through Friday.

Anyway, these rate sheets contain the day’s current mortgage rates, which are critical to anyone working in the biz. Without them, loan officers can’t provide quotes to borrowers unless they’re using some sort of computer system, which some of the big retail banks probably rely upon.

All loan programs offered by a given bank will be featured, including fixed rates like the 30-year fixed, 20-year fixed, and 15-year fixed, along with other loan types offered such as adjustable-rate mortgages.

Expect fixed mortgages to move more than ARMs on a daily basis, seeing that ARMs come with short-term promo rates that adjust over time, whereas mortgage bankers are taking a bigger risk by offering a rate that will never change.

You might see a slight difference in pricing between conforming mortgages backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s guidelines, even though they’re nearly the same product. So ask for pricing on each if both are offered.

There will also be a section for jumbo loans, FHA loans, VA loans, and other government loans offered such as an FHA streamline.

Each type of loan will have its own section on the rate sheet page with corresponding pricing, which details how many discount points must be paid, or conversely, if a lender credit is offered at a certain price.

These rate sheets are also what mortgage brokers rely on to get pricing updates from all the banks and wholesale lenders they work with.

Check Out Daily Mortgage Rates on Lender Websites

  • If you don’t have access to lender rate sheets
  • Visit lender websites to access their daily mortgage rates
  • Keep track of them over time
  • To determine their direction or any obvious trends

If you’re a consumer without access to mortgage lenders’ rate sheets, you can check their websites for purchase and refinance rates, though these aren’t nearly as reliable, and are typically just advertised rates with lots of assumptions.

While probably closer to national averages, you can at least glean some information, like mortgage rate trends if you see that they’re rising or falling over time.

Prospective home buyers may want to bookmark some mortgage lenders’ pages that feature today’s mortgage rates to chronicle them over time and stay in the know.

You’ll be able to get a better idea of monthly payments and hone in on the rent vs buy question.

Anyway, to answer the initial question, yes, mortgage rates can change daily, but only during the five-day workweek.

Mortgage rates do not change during the weekend, though pricing can definitely change between Friday and Monday depending on what happens on Monday morning.

In other words, pricing you receive on Friday could certainly differ from the pricing you receive on Monday morning depending on what transpires between then.

This is similar to the stock market or any other financial market for that matter. It’s constantly in flux and as such, things change, a lot.

Ask for Mortgage Rate Updates Daily

  • Ask for rate updates daily until you lock in your rate
  • Rates can move higher or lower based on a number of factors
  • Economic news, reports, data, and even geopolitical activity
  • Can significantly impact rates throughout the week

If you want to know where mortgage rates are for a given day, call your bank or broker and ask; and don’t be afraid to call every day to keep track of mortgage rates, as it’s their job to keep you informed.

Sure, they might be annoyed that you’re constantly asking for updates, but it’s their duty to provide you with this information.

It’s extremely important because it will determine how much you pay each month and over the life of the loan. So they should be more than understanding and happy to provide updated pricing.

After all, you’re the one that will be stuck paying that rate for the next 360 months if you go with a 30-year loan, so it’s worth the small effort.

Don’t just assume that the last rate quote they gave you, or the initial one to get you in the door, still stands. It could be completely different a week or even a day later.

Tip: Freddie Mac’s weekly survey just details what rates average during the week, not necessarily the daily rate available on certain mortgage loans.

Mortgage Rates Can Change During the Day

  • Intraday rate changes are also possible
  • If significant economic events take place
  • Like Fed meetings and policy changes
  • That alter demand for mortgage-backed securities (MBS)

So we know mortgage rates have the ability to change on a daily basis, but sometimes mortgage rates may even change more than once during the same day if certain economic reports are released.

Things like Federal Reserve meetings, a bump in the 10-year Treasury yield, MBS prices, home sales data, economic activity, and other related mortgage news may make rates rise from day to day.

In other words, your interest rate is never really secure until it is locked and you receive written confirmation from the lender.

For example, a mortgage rate quote provided in the morning may no longer be valid that same afternoon. If you drag your feet and tell the loan officer you’ll get back to them, even if just hours later, the rate may be ancient history.

Remember, if you want a guaranteed interest rate on your mortgage, you need to lock it in.

[Locking vs. floating your mortgage rate]

By locking, I mean speaking with your mortgage broker or loan officer, agreeing on certain terms, and getting lender confirmation in writing!

I can’t stress this enough; often times borrowers will be “promised” a certain interest rate or simply be told that interest rates are “X” and not to worry.

But when it comes time to close the loan, for whatever reason, interest rates may have gone up, and the promised rate is no longer available, often putting the borrower in a tough spot.

If rates increased, borrowers just bite the bullet and reluctantly agree to the current rate because they’re so far along in the loan process.

That’s why it is imperative to lock in your mortgage rate when you’re comfortable with it, and be sure to get it in writing and keep that document in a safe place!

Finally, be sure to take the time to compare rates and compare lenders too. All too often, a borrower will just fill out a single mortgage application and call it a day. That’s fine if you don’t care about saving money, but my guess is you do care.

Take a moment to calculate the difference between two rates that are just an eighth or quarter apart using a mortgage calculator. You might be shocked at the difference in interest over the life of the loan, which should illustrate the importance of putting in the time to shop mortgage interest rates.

Read more: What mortgage rate can I expect?


4 Comments

  1. Colin Robertson July 6, 2017 at 9:08 pm -

    Sheela,

    Freddie Mac has a weekly survey with data since 1971 that can give you some perspective.

  2. Sheela July 6, 2017 at 10:54 am -

    Hi Colin,
    Is there a website or a place where we have historical data on the mortgage rates? To see how the rates have been doing?
    Thanks

  3. Colin Robertson February 2, 2016 at 4:58 pm -

    Simon,

    You can ask for a free float down if rates are substantially lower but there’s no guarantee they’ll give you the lower rate.

  4. Simon Tran February 2, 2016 at 2:42 pm -

    If a rate is locked at “x%” and goes down before closing, can the borrower request for the lower amount? Any complications involved in that matter?

Leave A Response