SACRAMENTO, Calif. June 20, 2012 - Data released today by CALPIRG finds that making it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages could give consumers more options, save money, and stabilize California's housing market. In California alone, 1.3 million families could qualify, saving them $5.6 billion a year.
"Right now, mortgage rates are below 4%, but nearly half of homeowners are stuck paying 5% or higher because they can't refinance," said CALPIRG legislative director Pedro Morillas. "That may benefit the Wall Street banks who hold mortgage-backed securities, but it makes no sense for homeowners to be stuck paying above-market rates at a time when housing debt is a drag on the economy."
Congress is currently considering reforms that, for homeowners who are current on their mortgages, would lift unnecessary barriers to refinancing and allow consumers to shop around when refinancing their loan.
"California needs all the help it can get to revive our housing market and our economy." Said Paul Leonard, California Director of the Center for Responsible Lending. "Enabling underwater borrowers to take advantage of record-low interest rates and substantially lower their payments through refinancing is a win for borrowers, for lenders and for California's economy."
According to the data released today, adopting these reforms could help California families, allowing them each to save $4,133 on average. Nationwide, 13 million could qualify, for total savings of $35 billion to the country's economy.
"Congress has an opportunity to bring struggling homeowners much-needed relief and stem the tide of foreclosures," concluded Morillas. "Our representatives should come together on these common-sense solutions."
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