Cash Out Refinance Loans At 16-Year High

By: Mike Hamel

Homeowners continue to prefer cash out refinance loans to other forms of borrowing. Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, says,

“Mortgage borrowers continue to refinance their mortgages at a higher frequency than historically would have occurred given the rise in mortgage rates over this year. But the wide proliferation of adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) originated in the past few years that are nearing their first interest-rate adjustment provides borrowers an incentive to refinance into a lower-cost ARM or fixed-rate mortgage. In addition, borrowers who might have considered a prime rate home equity loan for a home improvement or other need are turning to cash out refinance options now that the prime rate is above 8 percent."

Beyond just converting an adjustable-rate loan to a fixed-rate loan, borrowers are also cashing out their equity. Almost 90 percent of Freddie Mac refinance loans are for amounts at least 5 percent higher than the original mortgage. The most recent Cash Out Refinance Report from the mortgage giant shows that homes refinanced during the third quarter of 2006 had experienced a median price appreciation of 33 percent since the original loan was made.

The median age of the original loan was 3.4 years.

It is this accrued equity that homeowners are tapping into to pay off high-interest credit cards, to fund home improvement projects, or to finance their children’s college education. An added benefit is that interest paid on a mortgage is tax deductible (usually up to $100,000 for taxpayers filing jointly).

Since a cash out refinance loan results in a new mortgage, it incurs closing costs, filing and legal fees, and other expenses that can add up to thousands of dollars. This makes refinancing unwise for people planning to move in the next few years as they will not have time to recoup their refinancing costs.

Bad Credit Refinancing

For borrowers with less than perfect credit, a refinance loan is the smartest way to get needed cash. Bad credit usually means a FICO score below 620. This FICO number reflects credit-worthiness based on borrowing habits, payment history and other financial factors. Creditors use it when deciding whether to make a loan and what interest rate to charge. The lower the credit score, the higher the risk for the lender. But since a refinance loan is secured by real property, the risk is minimized and the interest rate is better.

According to Steven Frank, Senior Vice President at FlexPoint Funding,

“A ‘subprime’ borrower can expect to pay between 1.5 percent and 2 percent higher interest for a mortgage, but there is no shortage of money in the subprime loan market. Most subprime borrowers won’t qualify for a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit. They will have to refinance their first mortgage if they want to cash out some of their equity. Depending on their personal situation, a homeowner may be able to borrow up to 95 percent LTV (loan to value). More likely, it will be in the 80 percent range."

You can learn more about bad credit refinancing and get a free loan quote at sites like and?.

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