Mortgage refinancers busy

December 23, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
In what is perhaps a hopeful sign for the economy, retailers weren't the only ones working this Christmas Eve. Interest rates on home loans over the last week have dropped to record lows, and after some painfully slow months, mortgage brokers are suddenly slammed and working through the holidays.That's great news for many who've been wondering where their next paycheck was coming from.

"During the last five months, some have taken part-time jobs to supplement their income," said Tony Tidwell with the Crossover Lending Group.

Loans were down 67 percent at Crossover in Morrisville. But then the Federal Reserve chopped interest rates, and the standard 30-year fixed loan hit a record low 4-and-a-half percent.

Brokers were suddenly swamped with people wanting to refinance their homes.

"Since last Tuesday, we've worked every day, including Saturday and Sunday," Tidwell offered.

Rates have since bounced up a little, but loan terms and business are still very good. Crossover has signed a month's worth of loans in less than a week.

Venky Krishnar was one customer happy to sign loan documents on Christmas Eve.

"I'm not really sure the rates are going to stay low. So the earlier the better, I guess," Krishnar said.

Many hope these historically low interest rates will breathe life back into the housing market. Rates were near this level about five years ago. But now the credit standards are different. So it is harder to get a loan.

Outside his refinanced home, Krishnar said his new mortgage will save him $160 a month. He'll spend the savings on a vacation.

"Probably a trip to Orlando, take my daughter to Disneyland," he said.


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