Refi Boom Over? Not so Fast...

Mortgage servicing executives can be forgiven for thinking that the refinancing boom is over. After all, after three years of portfolio churning and writedowns to the servicing asset, the industry deserves a break.

But not so fast. Even though most housing industry economists predict that rates will rise this year, a rate dip in January pumped refinancing activity back up to 50% of home loan applications.

And Quicken Loans, an online lending specialist based here, says that 45% of homeowners with a mortgage still could refinance their loan and get a better interest rate.

In mid-January, the interest rate on 30-year, fixed-rate loans had fallen below the 6% threshold again, and the interest rate on 15-year loans was in the low 5% range.

In addition, hybrid five-year fixed loans that convert to adjustable-rate loans also were increasingly attractive to some borrowers.

Those loans were in the low-to-mid 4% interest rate range, allowing homeowners who do not plan to be in a home more than five years to lock in at a low interest rate for the short term.

Bob Walters, chief economist at Quicken Loans, estimates that 45% of homeowners could still benefit from refinancing, despite the massive refinancing boom that has already occurred.

"Anyone with an interest rate that is 6% or higher on a fixed-rate mortgage should consider refinancing," Mr. Walters said. "In addition, homeowners whose adjustable-rate mortgages are currently in the adjustment period might also consider locking in these low fixed rates."

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