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Is Now the Right Time to Refinance?

By Gabriel Traverso
Mortgage Credit Problems Columnist


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The National Association of Realtors predicts a national price drop this year -- could now be the right time to refinance? The answer depends on where you are.

A Flat Year

While the National Association of Realtors predicts a national price drop in 2007, it admits that the numbers are slightly distorted as sales are shifting from high-cost housing markets to more moderately priced regions. However, the overall prognosis is that home prices will essentially flatline this year. For those of you keeping an eye on your equity and wanting to refinance, this means that you should thoroughly research prices in your area before you make a move.

Bad Credit Mortgages: To Refinance or Not To Refinance

This year has so far been marked by upheaval in the mortgage market. With some subprime lenders facing financial troubles, borrowers with bad credit are likely to face fewer refinance options than they did just a few months ago. This means more shopping around to get a good deal. It also means that you need to know your local real estate market before you decide to refinance. If prices are falling in your area and you refinance you could find that your home is worth less than you owe.

Rising and Falling

CNNMoney.com recently reported on the top and bottom five housing markets across the country as forecast by Fiserv Lending. Among the 100 largest housing markets in the U.S. McAllen, TX is slated to have the best growth with a 9.8% increase in prices over the next year. The bottom? Las Vegas, NV is forecast to have the greatest price drop between now and April 2008 at -8.9%. How does your real estate market look?

Consider the Future

As you start investigating your mortgage refinance options consult with local resources such as your real estate agent and your mortgage banker to find out what's going on in your neighborhood. If prices are on the rise then now could be the perfect time for you to refinance your home.

Sources
National Association of Realtors: Tighter Lending Standards For Housing, But Will Dampen Sales
CNNMoney.com: Where the Growth Is -- And Isn't

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