85 percent of refinancing homeowners maintain or reduce mortgage debt in Q4

In the fourth quarter of 2011, 85 percent of homeowners who refinanced their first-lien home mortgage either maintained about the same loan amount or lowered their principal balance by paying-in additional money at the closing table, a 26-year high, according to Freddie Mac. Of these borrowers, 37 percent maintained about the same loan amount, and 49 percent of refinancing homeowners reduced their principal balance; this latter percentage reflecting “cash-in” borrowers was the highest in the 26-year history of the analysis.
“Cash-out” borrowers, those that increased their loan balance by at least five percent, represented 15 percent of all refinance loans, the lowest percentage in the 26 years of analysis; the average cash-out share during the 1985 to 2010 period was 46 percent.
The median interest rate reduction for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was about 1.4 percentage points, or a savings of about 26 percent in interest rate.