Industry News

Fewer borrowers cash out real estate equity

But increase expected toward end of year

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About 39 percent of Freddie Mac-owned loans that were refinanced in the second quarter of 2004 resulted in new mortgages at least 5 percent higher than their original mortgages, according to a Freddie Mac's quarterly refinance review. That's a drop from the 42 percent of refinanced loans in the first quarter that resulted in cash-outs. During the second quarter, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hovered at about 6 percent, bringing about a gradual slowing of refinance activity. "The very low interest rates that we saw in March, when 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates averaged 5.4 percent, caused an increase in overall refinancing activity for the loans that closed in the second quarter," said Amy Crews Cutts, Freddie Mac deputy chief economist. "When we see regular rate-and-term refinancings increase, the share of cash-out refis drops. Most homeowners are happy to reduce their monthly payments and don't feel a need to withdraw equity, however, lower mortgage rates make home-equity con...