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Value of mortgage refinancings at three-year high


Aided by record-low interest rates and an expansion of government programs, the value of home loans refinanced this year will rise to $932 billion from $858 billion in 2011, according to projections from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The group’s gauge tracking the volume of credit being reworked climbed at the end of July to its highest level in three years, Bloomberg reported.

The typical borrower who reworked a $200,000 mortgage last quarter will save about $2,900 in interest over the next year, according to figures from Freddie Mac.

Nonetheless, the extra cash may not be spent soon, as households continue to focus on repairing finances.

“The initial benefit is not as significant as the large dollar-savings figures would seem to indicate,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, N.C. “It does provide a benefit to the economy, but that benefit actually grows over time.”

Despite recent increase, U.S. mortgage refinancing is still well short of the record $2.5 trillion refinanced in 2003, when then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was also trying to spur a recovery.

The Obama administration has made easing the housing slump one of the pillars of its attempt to revive the economy. The president has touted the $3,000 in yearly savings as one of his accomplishments.

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