Mortgage Q&A: “When to refinance a mortgage?”
With mortgage rates at record lows, you may be wondering if now is a good time to refinance.
The popular 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slipped to 4.32 percent this week, well below the 5.08 percent seen a year ago, and much better than the six-percent range seen years earlier.
So should you refinance now?
Well, that answers depends on a number of factors.
First, what is the current interest rate on your mortgage(s)? And what will the closing costs be on the new mortgage? They’ve been rising lately…
Let’s look at a quick example:
Loan amount: $200,000
Current mortgage rate: 5.5% 30-year fixed
Refinance rate: 4.25% 30-year fixed
Closing costs: $2,500
The monthly mortgage payment on your current mortgage (including just principal and interest) would be roughly $1,136, while the refinanced rate of 4.25 percent would carry a monthly payment of about $984.
That equates to savings of $152 a month.
Now assuming your closing costs were $2,500 to complete the refinance, you’d be looking at about 17 months of payments before you broke even and started saving yourself some money.
So if you refinanced again or sold your home during that time, refinancing wouldn’t make a lot of sense.
But if you plan to stay in the home (and with the mortgage) for many years to come, the savings could be substantial.
If you’re currently in an adjustable-rate mortgage, or worse, an option arm, the decision to refinance into a fixed-rate loan could make even more sense.
Or if you have two loans, consolidating the balance into a single loan (and ridding yourself of that pesky second mortgage) could result in some serious savings.
Additionally, you might be able to snag a no cost refinance, which would allow you to refinance without any out-of-pocket costs (the rate would be higher to compensate).
A cash-out refinance could also contribute to your decision to refinance if you were in need of money and had the necessary equity.
Finally, if you’re already in a 30-year fixed and want to build equity, you might consider taking a look at the 15-year fixed, which is pricing at a record low 3.83 percent, assuming you could handle a higher monthly payment.