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More people refinancing during pandemic

Posted at 3:39 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-05 17:51:31-04

Record unemployment rocked the real estate market. Now, interest rates are at record lows, giving many people a new way to save money by refinancing their current mortgage.

Matthew Garcia, a senior loan officer with Supreme Lending, says now is a good time to refinance your home.

"Absolutely. I mean, you’re looking at interest rates being at the most historic rates they’ve ever been. Rates have been in the 3% ranges before but now you’re seeing 30-year loans getting into the upper twos and middle twos, which is completely insane," said Garcia.

Garcia says the industry is going through a refinancing boom that it hasn't seen since a few years after the Great Recession. Refinancing your mortgage, or essentially restructuring your current home loan under a new, lower interest rate, can be done for a couple different reasons.

"There’s two main types of refinancing you can do. There’s what’s called rate term refinance which means I’m simply refinancing the balance from any closing costs I might have and dropping the interest rates. That’s what called Rate Term, taking no additional cash out. Then there’s also cash out. Cash out refinances tend to be a bit more expensive. When I say more expensive, I mean the rates are slightly higher, more expensive in cost structure," said Garcia.

For cash out refinancing, home owners who have likely owned their property for at least four or five years, are refinancing to take the extra cash from the increased equity in the home, and invest it in renovations or elsewhere.

"Where people can get into more danger is, they're taking out money because they want to go out and invest in other investment properties, go use that money to go out and buy other homes, speculate. That’s where it gets a bit dangerous. A lot of folks start watching their HGTV and think they're the expert and they're going to tap into this equity and go and do these things. There’s a lot more to it," said Garcia.

Garcia says the last thing people want is to end up with two failed mortgages. He says the best reasons to refinance is debt consolidation or if it will save money in the long run.

Josh Stech, CEO and co-founder of Sundae, a company that helps people with homes in bad condition get their properties sold, also says it's a good time to refinance because of how great the real estate market was doing before the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Rates are really low but also equity in homes was really high. We hit historic highs heading into the pandemic in terms of the amount of equity that homeowners have in their homes. Basically, the value versus the mortgage that they owe," said Stech.

As for how long interest rates will last, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has said they could be around for years. Sheck says, there's a chance interest rates could go even lower but there's already so much demand to refinance and banks can only process so many.

"I think as the fed is targeting a longer term near-zero interest rate environment, I think actually if you maybe wait a little bit you might play the game and win and get a lower interest rate because of the supply and demand I mentioned. I think it's a great time. It's hard to argue with record lows you haven't seen since 1971," said Stech.

Experts recommend people who are considering refinancing to talk to a loan officer or financial advisor to make the best decision for their situation. But, if it's something they're interested in doing, to look into it while the rates are as low as they are.