The rush to refinance

By Sara Gouedy - bio | email

There's a bright spot in tough economic times - falling interest rates for home loans.

It's making many people across the Tri-State rush to lock in rates before the new year.

Tim Burke found the home of his dreams in this two family house on Madison Avenue.

He's five years into ownership, and hopes to soon close the door on refinancing his mortgage.

"I never thought they'd come down this far," he said.

Tim says he'd worked with his lender since the spring on trying to get a better rate.

Then, something happened.

"She called me the Saturday before Christmas to let me know that the rates were really, really low, and that I could refinance for a small fee, $250, plus some title fees," Tim said.

National home mortgage rates have hovered in the last week around five percent.

It's a drop that has lenders and title companies seeing more calls for refinancing.

"These are definitely the lowest they've been since I've been in the business, and maybe, maybe all time," said Dan Whalen with Grandview Title Services.

Industry leaders say refinancing will not be for everyone, saying it will take strong credit and a history of good payments to qualify.

"Call your mortgage lender and find out for yourself. Certainly it is tougher to qualify, but don't assume you can't," said loan officer Tom Booth.

For Tim Burke, refinancing means he'll be able to make repairs to his house, something that makes him glad he put the request in to his lender.