US Consumers Save $11.5bn on Mortgages: FirstAmerican
US borrowers who refinanced in the first half of 2009 will receive $11.5bn in total mortgage payment savings over the next five years as a result of recent government reductions in mortgage rates, according to a study released by First American CoreLogic. The study analyzed more than 2.2m residential mortgage refinances between October 2008 and June 2009 to track the affects of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate reductions and government refinance programs on the increased consumer disposable income and their refinance activity. Researchers analyzed data from First American’s public-record database, which covers 96% of the US population. The study also showed that more than $1trn in US residential mortgage financings, including $790bn of refinancing, took place from January to June. Consumers who refinanced in the first half of 2009 saw their monthly payments drop by an average of $120, a 10.5% reduction from their previous payments. This refinance boom was likely meant for mortgage debt reduction rather than equity extraction, according to the report. “Assuming this is the case, the resultant reduction in monthly debt burdens for the consumer is a fiscal stimulus benefit that accrues to the overall economy,” researchers said in the report. “Lower mortgage payments mean more money in the consumer’s pocket for other purposes.” Lower mortgage rates are one way to achieve a lower mortgage payment through refinancing. HousingWire reported last week that Freddie Mac’s (FRE) weekly survey found the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) was 5.07% with an average 0.7 point, down 1bp from the previous week. Write to Jon Prior.