Most people don’t start paying attention to mortgage interest rates until they think about buying a home or refinancing their home loan. Then, the questions come up: Where are mortgage rates today? Are they trending up or down? What do the experts think? Is the Fed going to raise or lower rates? Does it matter if they do? See Do mortgage rates affect home prices?

When you’ve got questions about mortgage interest rates, LendingTree has answers.

Mortgage Interest Rate Forecasting

Mortgage interest rate forecasts influence a lot of decisions – choosing loans with fixed or adjustable rates, deciding when to lock in a loan, and determining the best time to refinance. For example, when mortgage rates dropped into the three percent range in 2013, fixed-rate loans became overwhelmingly popular. That’s because rates in the future are likely to be higher than three percent, so borrowers wanted to lock in cheap financing for as long as possible. Mortgage forecasters don’t always agree about where rates are headed. Check out this quick collection of Forecasts for 2013 and 2014 from some top mortgage rate forecasters.

Factors that Influence Mortgage Interest Rates

Most people don’t have a thorough understanding of mortgage interest rates. Rates are influenced by at least ten factors (which borrowers may have little control over), including the economy, property location, borrower’s credit rating and how efficient the lender is. Rates can vary between mortgage lenders by .25 percent to .5 percent on any given day.

Getting the Best Interest Rates

One thing you can do as a borrower to exert some control over the process is compare interest rate quotes from several competing mortgage lenders and choose a lender that charges less for your home loan. In a rising rate environment, your options can get a bit narrower and you might need to be even more careful when you shop. See Strategies for the New Mortgage Rate Environment.

See also:

How the Fed Affects (and Doesn’t Affect) Mortgage Rates

The Sweet Spot: Your Best Combination of Points and Interest Rate