It’s not too late for these owners to save by refinancing – but if not, they also won’t feel locked into their homes, afraid to sell because “my interest rate will go up if I do.”

NEW YORK – The number of owners who can save on their monthly mortgage payment by refinancing is down by more than half from the start of this year to 5.9 million, according to Black Knight data. Black Knight considers refinance candidates as 30-year mortgage holders who have a maximum 80% loan-to-value ratio, a credit score of 720 or higher, and a likelihood of reducing their current first lien by at least 0.75%.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has climbed about 50 basis points in the first weeks of the year. Still, even with recent mortgage rate increases aside, many of those 5.9 million borrowers could still see savings of $275 a month per borrower, according to Black Knight. More than 1 million of them could save at least $400 a month, and 661,000 borrowers could trim $500 or more from their monthly mortgage at current rates.

The remaining borrowers may have missed the opportunity to save by not refinancing when mortgage rates were below 3%. The number of refinance candidates has dropped significantly from about 11 million at the start of the year and is down by about 20 million in late 2020.

Mortgage applications to refinance a home are down by half from a year ago, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports. Nearly 18 million homeowners have refinanced over the last two years.

While many homeowners over the last two years have taken advantage to lower their mortgage payments, they’ve also quickly accumulated equity, in record amounts. A sharp increase in home prices has meant that, in the last year, homeowners have gained an average of $50,200 in equity, according to data from the National Association of Realtors®.

Still, rising mortgage rates can impact the inventory of for-sale homes. Owners with a historically low rate would have to take out a new mortgage if they decide to upgrade in a higher interest rate environment.

As a result, more homeowners could decide their best option is stay put – but that problem wouldn’t apply to the 5.9 million who never refinanced when the timing was optimal to do so.

Source: “More than 5 Million Borrowers Just Missed Their Chance to Save on a Mortgage Refinance,” CNBC (Jan. 21, 2022)

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Author: kerrys