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Your Mortgage : Record Number of Owners in State Refinance in May

June 27, 1993|From Times Wire Services

A record number of California homeowners took advantage of low mortgage interest rates and refinanced their homes in May, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 108,406 homes were refinanced last month, up from 105,498 in April and ahead of the previous peak of 107,799 in October, 1992. At the current refinancing rate, June could also set a new record, according to Dataquick Information Systems, La Jolla.

Homeowners in the Bay Area and Central Valley are leading the current refinance surge. In May, a record 30,156 homes in the nine-county Bay Area were refinanced, and in the Central Valley a record of 14,451 homes were refinanced. Both regions experienced previous highs in April and in October last year.

Somewhat slower is the increase in refinance activity in Southern California and especially Los Angeles County. Last month 26,806 homes were refinanced in the county, somewhat behind last November's 28,630 and 27,362 in March, 1992.

"The fact is that home values have come down a bit more in Los Angeles County than elsewhere. Lenders won't give you a new mortgage the same size as your current mortgage if your home has come down in value," said Donald L. Cohn, Dataquick CEO.

Dataquick monitors all real estate purchasing and financing activity in California and other states and provides information to lending institutions, title companies and industry analysts.

The average size of a refinanced mortgage was $137,107 last month. That is slightly below the $140,000-$145,000 range, where the average had been for the last two years. Bay Area counties have the highest averages with Marin County at the top with $176,445.

Five years ago refinances accounted for less than one-fourth of all the mortgages that lending institutions provided; they now account for two-thirds, Dataquick reported.

Countrywide Funding, North American Mortgage and Great Western Bank are the three most active refinance lenders in California right now, the real estate information service reported.

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