Refinancings grow as U.S. houses surge in value

Real Estate Watch

May 13, 2001

A Freddie Mac survey of refinanced loans in this year's first quarter found that the median age of the original loan was 1.6 years - the lowest since the secondary mortgage seller began tracking the age of refinanced loans in 1997.

In their quarterly survey, Freddie Mac's economists attributed the shrinking ages of the loans being refinanced to "robust" house-price appreciation during the past three years, and recent favorable interest rates for homeowners. The survey found that properties with mortgages backing refinanced loans appreciated in value by 11 percent at the time the loan was refinanced.

This growth, according to Freddie Mac, has encouraged homeowners to tap into the built-up equity in their homes and refinance, altering the face of the loan market drastically within a year.

Refinancings were about 60 percent of the mortgage market in this year's first quarter.

For the corresponding period last year, refinancings accounted for 20 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

In this year's first quarter, 50 percent of the refinanced loans were for amounts 5 percent higher than the original loan amount. For the corresponding quarter last year, 81 percent of refinancings were 5 percent or higher than the original loan amount.

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