Friday, July 30, 2010

MORTGAGE & FINANCE: Low mortgage rates spur refinancings

NEW YORK — The lowest mortgage rates in decades are just too good for some people to pass up.

Brokers are reporting rising interest in home refinancings as rates on a 30-year fixed loans have hit record lows in four of the past five weeks. This week the average rate fell to 4.56 percent, the lowest since mortgage company Freddie Mac began tracking rates in 1971.

Weekly applications to refinance home loans have nearly doubled in July from April, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Refinancing a home loan often requires the homeowner to pay thousands of dollars in closing costs. Many people either don’t have the money, or they can’t qualify for a loan. And rates have been low for such a long time that many people may have already refinanced. It is not in their interest to do so again to save a little bit more on monthly payments.

The last time home loan rates were lower was during the 1950s, when most mortgages lasted just 20 or 25 years.

And it’s not just 30-year fixed loans. The rate on the 15-year fixed loan, a popular choice for refinancing, dropped to 4.03 percent from 4.06 percent last week. That was the lowest on records dating back to 1991.

Associated Press July 23, 2010

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