Refinancing: How Sweet It Is

We've had a 6 percent 30-Year fixed mortgage since we bought our house in 2005. With rates at historic lows, we, like many people, started looking into refinancing earlier in the year, but had to put it on hold until we got tax extensions, and then returns, filed. When we spoke with the mortgage specialist at Chase in February the conforming loan limit for a two-family house in Brooklyn was just south of $800,000. When we got on the phone yesterday morning we were pleased to learn that the conforming limit had recently been raised to $934,200; the single-family limit is $729,750. We were able to do a 90-day lock for a 1/4 point at 5 percent. Here's where you have to start to question how low prices can really go: With rates where they are right now, you could, say, buy a $1.2 million house and lock in mortgage payments of $5,000 a month; assume you make $1,500 on your rental and you're down to $3,500; throw in the tax breaks and you're down to $2,500; add back in $1,000 a month for taxes and insurance and you're back up to $3,500. $3,500 a month to own your own house in New York City and have, say, 2,400 square feet of living space for yourself (three out of four floors). The trickier part comes when you need to finance more than that $934,200. Have any readers gotten financing for significantly more than that recently? How did you structure it? We heard from Chase that HELOCs are quite hard to get right now?

Copyright Brown - Brownstoner
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