About 6.5 million mortgage borrowers could qualify for and benefit from refinancing their home loans, according to the Mortgage Monitor Report from Black Knight Financial Services, which could translate into massive savings for those consumers. The report, based on May 2015 data, puts the total potential annual savings at $20 billion, with as many as 3 million borrowers saving at least $200 a month in mortgage payments.
The vast majority of homeowners could realize these savings through traditional refinancing, the analysis showed, while roughly 450,000 homeowners would be eligible for lower interest rates on their home loans through HARP, the Home Affordable Refinance Program. HARP is geared toward borrowers whose homes have declined in value, therefore preventing them from securing traditional refinancing.
Black Knight arrived at these figures by analyzing borrower and mortgage data, specifically the 30-year fixed-rate loan. In a news release about the analysis, Black Knight noted that rate fluctuations could change borrowers’ ability to save.
“It’s important to remember how rate-sensitive this population is, too,” said Ben Graboske, senior vice president of Data & Analytics at Black Knight, according to the news release. “[I]f rates go up just half a percentage point, 2.6 million people fall out of that refinanceable population.”
Rates haven’t shifted much since May, but they have edged upward, suggesting that 6.5 million-borrower figure has already shrunk.
Borrowers considering a refinance also need to be sure that what you’ll pay in upfront costs versus what you will save in monthly payments makes the move worthwhile for you. You’ll have to consider closing costs and also the amount of time you want to stay in the home. For example, if you’re planning to sell in the next couple of years, be sure to crunch the numbers and make sure the savings are worthwhile in the long-run.
The mortgage rate a borrower qualifies for has a huge impact in that person’s ability to afford a home and the long-term impact that loan will have on his or her finances (you can use this calculator to see how much home you can afford). Borrowers with good credit scores generally get the most favorable financing terms, and with loans as large and long-lasting as mortgages, a few credit score points could result in tens of thousands of dollars in interest savings over the life of the loan.
Refinancing can be quite the undertaking, but it may be worth the potential savings. To find out if you qualify for refinancing, talk to your mortgage servicer, and give your credit history a quick review (you can get a free credit report summary and two free credit scores, updated every 30 days, from Credit.com) to make sure no errors or negative information would cause you problems.
More on Mortgages & Homebuying:
- Why You Should Check Your Credit Before Buying a Home
- How to Find & Choose a Mortgage Lender
- How to Refinance Your Home Loan With Bad Credit