In the first quarter of 2006, 88 percent of Freddie Mac-owned loans that were refinanced resulted in new mortgages with loan amounts that were at least 5 percent higher than the original mortgage balances, according to Freddie Mac's quarterly refinance review. This percentage is up from the fourth quarter of 2005, when the share of refinanced loans that took cash out was a revised 81 percent, and is the highest since the third quarter of 1990, the mortgage giant said. "The share of all mortgages that were for refinance fell slightly in the first quarter of 2006 to 44 percent from 45 percent in the fourth quarter of 2005. Over that same period interest rates on all mortgages increased between 0.02 and 0.25 percent," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. "Almost no one is refinancing to reduce their interest rate in today's environment. In fact, the first quarter of 2006 is the first time in 20 quarters in which the new mortgage rate was higher than the ol...
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