Mortgage rates have recently hit record lows, and many Americans are jumping at the opportunity to buy new homes as well as refinance.
According to the Mortgage Banking Association (MBA), mortgage applications have been surging since March 2020 when the Fed slashed interest rates in response to the coronavirus pandemic. By year-end, mortgage applications are expected to double in volume compared to economists’ original 2020 predictions.
Mortgage refinancing applications are also on the rise: Currently, Americans are applying for refinancing loans at a 38% higher rate than they were this time last year.
Refinancing your house means essentially taking out a brand new loan, often for the remainder that you owe on the property (but not always). Depending on how much equity you have in the house (i.e. what you’ve paid on it already) and what your credit score is when applying, refinancing might offer you one or more benefits, including:
- a lower interest rate (APR)
- a lower monthly payment
- a shorter payoff term
- the ability to cash out your equity for other uses
When you’re faced with economic uncertainty, refinancing your mortgage can help give you some breathing room. But at the same time, if you’re struggling financially, refinancing can be a little more complicated. If you have a bad credit score, you’ll need to take a few steps to ensure you can even qualify. And when you do qualify, you want to make sure your refinanced mortgage is better than your original mortgage, not worse.