Journal Article

Mortgage refinancing in 2001 and early 2002

Abstract: Over the past ten years, millions of homeowners have taken advantage of lower mortgage interest rates and higher home values and have refinanced their mortgage loans. For many, the decision to refinance was motivated by a desire to reduce their monthly mortgage payments, either by obtaining a lower interest rate or by extending the maturity of their mortgage. When they have refinanced, many homeowners have liquefied some of the equity they accumulated in their homes by borrowing more than they needed to pay off their former mortgage and cover the transaction costs of the refinancing. They have used the funds raised in so-called cash-out refinancings to make home improvements, to repay other debts, or to purchase goods and services or other assets. This article presents estimates, based on recent survey findings, of the incidence of refinancing, the changes in terms and conditions of mortgages after refinancing, the amount of funds homeowners raised in the process, and the ways in which homeowners used the funds. It also provides comparisons with previous surveys of refinancing activity and a statistical analysis of the relative importance of different determinants of refinancing and the amount of home equity liquefied during refinancing. Finally, it gives rough estimates of the effects of recent refinancing on the U.S. economy, including the effects on aggregate consumption spending.

Keywords: Mortgages; Housing - Finance;

JEL Classification: G21;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.)

Part of Series: Federal Reserve Bulletin

Publication Date: 2002-12

Volume: 88

Issue: Dec