Central Florida Refi Opportunities Open Up a Bit

Mortgage & Real Estate

Refinance activity in the Central Florida region remains relatively low compared to the rest of the country but experienced a notable pickup in September, according to an Orlando mortgage lender’s report for the month.

Refinancing nearly doubled during the month, rising to almost 20% of mortgage transactions during September, according to FBC Mortgage LLC, Orlando, Fla.

“It’s a very welcome sign in our market,” Rob Nunziata, president/co-CEO, told this publication, when asked about the relative increase in refis. “So much of the rest of the country has been able to take advantage of the low rates, Florida has been missing out.”

While a high number of homes in the region were bought and financed when prices were much higher than they are today, making origination of new or refinance loans in the area a challenge, the pickup in refis suggests there are two favorable trends that have made it possible for some to refinance recently.

Nunziata said that it appears that rates have gotten low enough that those who had enough equity to refinance before are refinancing again. Also the regional jump in refinancing suggests enough home sales have been made at relatively lower post-downturn prices to create some refinancing opportunities in that borrower segment, he said.

However, Nunziata said the housing and mortgage market in the region is far from recovery given the persistence of many borrowers whose loans remain greater than the present value of their homes. He said he would like to see a new proposed government program aimed at aiding borrowers of this type who make timely payments, or something similar, pan out.

He noted that there has been a lot of frustration on the part of underwater borrowers in the area who make their payments given that recent government programs tend to be aimed more at helping underwater borrower who are not making their payments.

FBC’s regional report for September also included data that show the continuation of a slight upward trend in home prices that has persisted for the last 24 months and continuing increases in income in the area. Monthly income for first-time homebuyers averaged $4,000 during the period while monthly income for all other homebuyers in the region averaged close to $9,000.

Daily Briefing | Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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