Mortgage rates are approaching the mid-3s, which has put millions of U.S. homeowners in the money to refinance.
And yet, many homeowners have chosen to do nothing.
According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the parent of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, mortgage refinance volume dropped ten percent last quarter despite sub-4 percent mortgage rates and the loosest mortgage guidelines in more than 10 years.
Homeowners that have elected to refinance, though, are saving big money.
The majority of refinancing homeowners have reduced monthly payments by $150 or more; and, many are using zero-closing cost mortgages to keep the benefits of refinancing high.
Homeowners doing debt consolidations are saving even more -- especially with the recent changes in how lenders treat credit card debt.
If you've been wondering whether it's finally a good time to refinance, the answer is a likely "yes". Mortgage rates are low, and lenders are looking to approve.Click to see today's rates (May 27th, 2016)
Today's mortgage rates are the lowest in more than a year.
Refinance opportunities have re-opened for homeowners with existing conventional loans; and for homeowners with FHA loans and VA loans, too.
According to Black Knight Financial Services' monthly Mortgage Monitor, there are currently more than 7 million potential refinance candidates nationwide; and 600,000 of them are in position to save more than $400 per month.
Furthermore, there are an additional 367,000 homeowners eligible for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which expires at the end of 2016; and hundreds of thousands of homeowners eligible for the FHA Streamline Refinance and VA Streamline Refinance programs.
In aggregate, U.S. homeowners could save more than $2.0 billion every month.
If only more homeowners would apply.
Despite a drop in mortgage rates (and a loosening of mortgage lending standards), refinance volume remains off its peak. Too many homeowners feel it would be difficult to get a mortgage; or, don't feel that a refinance is worth the time required.
Did you know: A $250,000 mortgage from last year, refinanced from 4.50% to 3.75% today, would save $56,000 in mortgage interest costs over the life of the loan?
And, if you can do a zero-closing cost mortgage refinance, even better.
To check your home refinance eligibility, speak with any mortgage lender nationwide -- either in person or online.
Note, though, that, homeowners with an existing VA mortgage will want to specifically ask about the VA Streamline Refinance program, which is a reduced-paperwork refinance that waives the need for an appraisal.
And, homeowners with existing FHA loans will want to ask about the FHA Streamline Refinance. It, too, is a simplified, appraisal-less refinance plan.
However, FHA-backed homeowners with at least 5% home equity should ask how to cancel FHA MIP. With home values rising nationwide, more and more FHA homeowners are leaving their FHA MIP behind.Click to see today's rates (May 27th, 2016)
The Black Knight Financial Service Mortgage Monitor report more than 7 million U.S. households potentially eligible for a home loan refinance.
That data point, however, focuses on homeowners whose current mortgage rate is above the current market mortgage rate, which is below four percent for a conventional mortgage refinance; and slightly lower for an FHA Streamline Refinance or VA Streamline Refinance.
There are other refinance types, though, besides the "rate-and-term" refinance; where a homeowner is just looking to lower its interest rate.
There are three types of refinance loans available in today's mortgage market:
Rate-and-term refinances are the most common of the three refinance types.
Via a rate-and-term refinance, the homeowner lowers the mortgage rate, the loan term, or both. There is no minimum mortgage rate reduction when you do a rate-and-term refinance. You just want to make sure that your benefits outweigh your costs.
In general, the lower your closing costs or the longer you plan to hold the mortgage, the more likely that a rate-and-term refinance will make financial sense.
The second type of refinance is the cash-out refinance.
With a cash-out refinance, the homeowner's loan balance increases by five percent or more at the time of closing.
Cash-out refinances are especially popular when home values rise. This is because the cash-out refinance allows a borrower to increase its loan balance without increasing the home's loan-to-value (LTV).
Loans with higher LTVs are subject to worse mortgage rates and, when loan-to-value exceeds 80%, private mortgage insurance.
Unless you're doing a cash-out refinance to eliminate credit card debt, there are no restrictions on how you use the cash that's paid at closing.
Cash-out refinances can be used to finance home construction; to pay for college or graduate school expenses; to fund a retirement or long-term savings account; or anything else.
Lastly, there's the cash-in refinance.
Cash-in refinances are typically used to get better loan terms which may only be available at lower LTVs. For example, a homeowner with an existing FHA mortgage may want to stop paying FHA mortgage insurance but, in order to do that, the homeowner's LTV must be low enough to qualify for a conventional home loan instead.
Via the cash-in refinance, the homeowner can pay down its mortgage balance at closing in order to get the better loan terms.
Another example of a cash-in refinance is a homeowner bringing cash to closing in order to lower the total borrowed amount. Less interest is paid on lower loan amounts which makes the cash-in refinance an excellent way to reduce loan-term costs of borrowing.
Mortgage rates are low and millions of U.S. homeowners are potentially eligible to refinance. You may be one of them. Don't miss your chance to ask a lender about your options.
Get today's live mortgage rates now. Your social security number is not required to get started, and all quotes come with access to your live mortgage credit scores.Click to see today's rates (May 27th, 2016)
The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.
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2016 Conforming, FHA, & VA Loan Limits
Mortgage loan limits for every U.S. county, as published by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)