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Oklahoma lenders seeing another refinancing rush, 15-year mortgages

People who refinanced as recently as just a couple of years ago are doing it again.
by Richard Mize Published: September 29, 2012

Crazy is as frenzy does in the home loan arena.

Yet another refinance rush is upon us because of these crazy-low mortgage rates — 3.69 percent interest on average last month for loans financing the 1,922 home purchases handled by Realtors in the Oklahoma City area.

People who refinanced as recently as just a couple of years ago are doing it again. Refis are accounting for 60 percent of all mortgage loan volume at BOK Mortgage, said Ben Cowen, president of the division of Bank of Oklahoma.

Last month, 15-year mortgages made up 20 percent of BOK Mortgage's home loan volume, said Cowan, whose office is in Tulsa.

Refinancers “are still coming out of the woodwork, or out from under rocks,” said Steven R. Plaisance, president and chief operating officer of Arvest Mortgage Co. and Central Mortgage Co.

Yet some folks are still on the refi sidelines.

“I think some procrastinators are getting lucky that rates are staying low,” Plaisance said, “while others are not in so much of a hurry because they feel rates will stay low for a while with the government's intervention, and they may be waiting for their home's value to rise or some other element of qualifying or eligibility to improve for them.”

A 5-percent loan rate on an existing mortgage is considered “high” right now.

“There are still a good number of higher-rate loans out there,” said Plaisance, whose office is in Tulsa. “Why have they not refinanced? Lots of reasons: plans to move soon, loan is paid down to a certain point where they are into more P than I (more principal than interest). Some just do not think about it — they know their payment, it's fixed, it's in their budget, and they have not gone to the lengths to see if refinancing could save them money.”

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by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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