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March Due to Be Another Big Month for Refinance News

[Mar 4, 2010.]


Many homeowners looking to refinance have grown accustomed to watching the news and trying to discern what the news means to their chance of refinancing. From fluctuating home prices to the Fed's discussions of interest rate hikes, a wide variety of news is impacting mortgage rates right now.

March, it seems, will be another massively important news month in terms of news that affects refinancing and the mortgage markets in general.  Here are three big refinance news stories to watch in March of 2010:

1. The Fed Stops Buying Mortgage-Backed Securities

For quite a while now, private investors have not been purchasing mortgages in the so-called "secondary markets." These secondary markets are one reason why mortgages are available, because lenders that originate mortgages can then sell off these mortgages and originate new ones.

For a solid year and change, there has been no demand for these mortgage-backed securities from private investors, so the federal government has been buying up all the supply to try to keep mortgage rates low.

In March, that buying is due to stop. Will mortgage rates rise as a result? Quite possibly. Certainly it wouldn't hurt to lock in a low refinance rate ASAP if that's an option.

2. Adjustments to HARP Program

The number of homeowners who have refinanced through the Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, has been pretty meager overall: about 190,000, as opposed to the 4 to 5 million expected.

Meanwhile, 50 percent of the modified loans are already in default again.

The HARP program has officially been extended. But how will it be changed to make it more successful?

Stay tuned.

3. Strategic Defaults Growing In Popularity

Another piece of refinance news to keep a close eye on is the ever-developing foreclosure situation.

Specifically with respect to homeowners who probably could pay their mortgages if they chose to, but might not want to for the reason that their home value is way less than their mortgage, the foreclosure dynamic is something that everyone looking to refinance must look at as a factor.

This idea of the strategic default, of homeowners basically looking at their home as an investment that's gone sour, so might as well write off the loss and move on, is pretty much new in American history at this large of a scale. This un-emotional approach could change everything if enough people adopt this way of thinking.

Home prices, that is, could fall further, making refinancing only that much more challenging for those homeowners who do choose to stay in their homes come hell, high water, or underwater.


About Author:

Andrew Freiburghouse is a writer and businessman. He has worked as a magazine reporter, tax preparer, screenwriter, copywriter, and loan officer. He graduated from Santa Clara University in 1999 with a B.A. in English. Andrew was born and raised in the City of Los Angeles.

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