More Than 95 Percent of Refinancing Borrowers Choose Fixed-Rate Mortgages
MCLEAN, Va., Feb. 14, 2012 -- In the fourth quarter of 2011, fixed-rate loans accounted for more than 95 percent of refinance loans, based on the Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) Quarterly Product Transition Report released today. Refinancing borrowers clearly preferred fixed-rate loans, regardless of whether their original loan was an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) or a fixed-rate.
- An increasing share of refinancing borrowers chose to shorten their loan terms during the fourth quarter. Of borrowers who paid off a 30-year fixed-rate loan, 43 percent chose a 15- or 20-year loan, the highest such share since the first quarter of 2003.
- Fifty-eight percent of borrowers who had a hybrid ARM transitioned to a fixed-rate loan during the fourth quarter, while the remaining 42 percent chose to refinance into the same type of product.
Attributed to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist
- "Fixed mortgage rates averaged 4.00 percent for 30-year loans and 3.30 percent for 15-year product during the fourth quarter in Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey®, well below long-term averages. The Bureau of Economic Analysis has estimated the average coupon on single-family loans was about 5.2 percent during the fourth quarter of 2011. It's no wonder we continue to see strong refinance activity into fixed-rate loans.
- "For borrowers motivated to refinance by low fixed-rates, they could obtain even lower rates by shortening their term. Compared to a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rate on 15-year fixed was about 0.7 percentage points lower during the fourth quarter. And for borrowers who plan to remain in their current home for only a few years, the hybrid ARM allows for even a greater interest-rate savings. The initial interest rate on a 5/1 hybrid ARM was about 1.1 percentage points lower than on a 30-year fixed-rate loan."
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Quarterly Product Transition Information
These estimates come from a sample of properties on which Freddie Mac has funded at least two successive loans and the latest loan is for refinance rather than for home purchase. Some loan products, such as 1-year ARMs and balloons, are based on a small number of transactions. During the fourth quarter of 2011, the refinance share of applications averaged 81 percent in Freddie Mac's monthly refi survey, and the ARM share of applications was 7 percent in Freddie Mac's monthly ARM survey, which includes purchase-money as well as refinance applications.
Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation's residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Over the years, Freddie Mac has made home possible for one in six homebuyers and more than five million renters.
SOURCE Freddie Mac
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