So many people have been refinancing that last week became another high in the refinance business, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday.
About 82.4 percent of all mortgage applications requested refinancing, the highest share since January 2009, the trade group said. That beat the 81.4 percent from the previous week, figures show.
Also last week, the average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to its lowest since the Mortgage Bankers Association began recording such data 20 years ago. The average contract rate dropped from 4.6 percent to 4.55 percent, with points falling also from .89 points to .92 points for people who put down 20 percent of the house price, the group said.
The activity has been driven by historically-low interest rates, which bankrate.com shows was an average of 4.5 percent on 30-year, fixed-rate loans. Rates going lower and lower reflects a lack of confidence in the economy and also the bad news that’s been coming out for months on the housing and jobs markets.
But just because rates are low doesn’t mean refinancing is a breeze. Several Long Islanders in the lending and mortgage broker industry said homeowners with second liens are having a tough time getting refinanced. A refinancing can jeopardize or improve chances of a homeowner paying off a second-position loan, often a home equity loan or a smaller mortgage loan.
Mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac said Thursday that mortgage rates fell to 4.36 percent this week, the lowest since it began tracking rates in 1971.