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Chart of the week: Refinancing still subdued

Mortgage rates are near multidecade highs. As a result, refinancing applications remain subdued. Some economists believe 2023 could have been the low end of this cycle for refinancing, especially if rates come down later this year. Refinancing activity provides some insight into the state of the housing market. Homeowners who refinance may be looking to decrease their monthly payment at a lower rate and/or shorten the term (e.g., turning an existing 30-year loan into a 15-year loan), the latter of which could increase the monthly mortgage payment. Refinancing also comes with closing costs, which can take years to recoup (and some of those costs may never be recouped if the homeowner sells the house before breaking even).
Source: FactSet, as of February 21, 2024.

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