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Refinance Activity and Rates Continue to Drop

Phil Hall
Aug 16, 2018
Although refinancing activity has soared by 94 percent since hitting an 18-year low in the fourth quarter of 2018, refinance retention rates fell by three percentage points to 26 percent in the third quarter of this year

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed 299,466 refinances during the second quarter, down from 356,002 in the first quarter.  The second quarter saw 2,973 loans were refinanced through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) that is set to expire at the end of the year.
 
According to the FHFA, 49,094 borrowers could still benefit from a HARP refinance before the program runs its course. Ten states accounted for more than 70 percent of borrowers who remain eligible for HARP: Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Alabama, Georgia and New York.
 
Separately, Bankrate reported the average 30-year fixed-refinance rate is now at 4.39 percent, down six basis points from a week ago. The average rate for a 15-year fixed refi is 3.79 percent, down five basis points over the last seven days, and the average rate for a 10-year fixed-refinance loan is 3.69 percent, down seven basis points over the last week.

 
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