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Two-in-Five Borrowers Shorten Term when Refinancing

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• About 85 percent of those who refinanced their first-lien home mortgage maintained about the same loan amount or lowered their principal balance by paying in additional money at the closing table. That’s just shy of the 88 percent peak during the second quarter of 2012.

• More than 95 percent of refinancing borrowers chose a fixed-rate loan. Fixed-rate loans were preferred regardless of what the original loan product had been. For example, 86 percent of borrowers who had a hybrid ARM refinanced into a fixed-rate loan during the second quarter. In contrast, only 3 percent of borrowers who had a fixed-rate loan chose an ARM.

• With mortgage rates remaining below 5 percent for most of the past four years, relatively few homeowners with loans taken in this period would have much incentive to refinance. Consequently, the median age the original loan was outstanding before refinance increased to 6.7 years during the third quarter, the most since the analysis began in 1985.

“By obtaining lower interest rates, borrowers will save approximately $6 billion in interest over the next 12 months, which they can put towards savings, paying down debt or supporting additional expenditures,” says Nothaft. “Further, the estimated $6.4 billion in ‘cash-out’ activity will further augment borrowers’ investment and consumption spending.”

For more information, visit www.FreddieMac.com.

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