You should lock soon -- like, in the next day or two -- if you want to secure a rock-bottom mortgage rate.
I said this yesterday and I dislike repetition. But this is important. Mortgage rates are extremely low right now. Time to lock, if you're close enough to the closing date that you don't have to pay a rate-lock fee.
Here's what we know: Rates haven't been this low since the mid-1950s. There are two things we don't know: Whether rates will drop farther, and how long these low rates will linger.
You can float, but that's not a smart strategy. It's like asking for another card when you have 19 in blackjack. Stand and take your chances.
In Bankrate's last weekly survey, conducted Wednesday, the 30-year fixed averaged 4.96 percent. It dipped even further Thursday and Friday, just a little. Yesterday, it returned to where it had been last Wednesday.
Around Thanksgiving, the 30-year fixed fell to 5 percent in Bankrate's survey. Two weeks later, it averaged 5.13 percent. Two weeks after that, it averaged 5.33 percent. That was a mercifully slow rise. Rates can go up much quicker than that.
I advise you to lock now because I don't believe the potential reward of floating justifies the risk. Mortgage rates could remain this low for weeks. Or they could drop even more. Or they could rise slowly. Or they could rise quickly. We don't know which. All we know is that mortgage rates are extraordinarily attractive right now. Grab a good one while you can.
A heads-up to mortgage professionals: Around noon Eastern time, I'm going to post an open thread asking readers to write comments giving advice to today's refinancers. If you're an originator, or you have refinanced recently, think about it now and get ready to drop some advice on our readers. Maybe you have something to say about gathering paperwork, or having a realistic idea of the home's value, or something else. Don't post that advice in this thread; wait until the open thread comes up. But give it some thought in the meantime.