Refinance Window? 30-Year Fixed at 3%, But New Refinance Fee Added Soon

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Mortgage rates have hit another all-time low, with some 30-year fixed rate mortgages below 3% and 15-year fixed below 2.5%. I know that many folks have already refinanced successfully, but these lower rates may offer even more homeowners the ability to lower their payments and/or pay off their home sooner. Importantly, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced an additional 0.5% fee on refinances that was supposed to start on 9/1, but that was just delayed to 12/1. This could add thousands to your upfront cost. The fact that they ultimately buy 2/3rd of all refi loans and called this an “adverse market refinance fee” also suggests that they feel rates are so low that they don’t properly compensate for the risk involved.

Here is how mortgage rates have changed in just the last 12 months, per Freddie Mac. Would anyone who lived through the 2009 boom-and-bust have expected a 30-year fixed mortgage to cost the same as a 5/1 ARM?

You may not get these rates as they do assume some points, and it may actually work out better for your situation to pay less in upfront closing costs in exchange for a higher interest rate than 2.91%. You can calculate a breakeven point upon which your saved monthly payments completely offset your upfront costs, and also how far you are “ahead” at certain time periods like 3 or 5 years down the road.

Bottom line. Mortgage rates are even lower and many new homeowners will now able to lower their mortgage rates via a refinance. In addition, a new refinance fee that can add thousands to your upfront cost will be added on 12/1. From what I understand, it’s rather hectic right now and refi’s can take over a month, so you will need to start soon and “pack your patience”.

If you are serious, get an accurate full quote with all the costs involved with a reputable mortgage comparison site like LendingTree (tip: they will likely call whatever phone number you choose to enter) or go local and call up your neighborhood broker. You don’t have to provide your Social Security number to get a quote. If you like what you see, lock in the rate as they can change quickly.


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