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Subprime Mortgages and the Refinancing Boom Subprime Mortgages and the Refinancing Boom By: Mike Hamel

There are more than 19,000 mortgage companies in the U.S. and some of the largest and most reputable of them specialize in subprime mortgage refinancing.

Steven Frank, Senior Vice President of Marketing at FlexPoint Funding identifies a subprime borrower as someone with a FICO score below 620. He or she will pay between 1.5% and 2% higher interest for a mortgage, but there is no shortage of money or willing lenders in the subprime mortgage market.

What trends do you see in the subprime mortgage market for 2006 and beyond?

Steve: We went through the biggest refinancing boom in history from mid 2002 through September of 2005. As many as 80% of Americans refinanced their homes during that time. Interest rates on adjustable rate loans dropped to under 4% during the boom with some homeowners opting for fixed rates as low as 5%.

Now both fixed and adjustable are back around 6.5% and will probably reach 7% for an A-grade 30-year fixed mortgage and 9% for a subprime mortgage by the end of 2006. The rate of appreciation is a more normal 6% - 12% annually. A typical home in most parts of the country stays on the market about six months, which means it s a balanced market favoring neither buyers nor sellers.

What type of mortgage would you recommend for subprime borrowers?

Steve: Most subprime borrowers won t qualify for a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit. They will have to refinance their first mortgage if they want to cash out some of their equity. Depending on their personal situation, a homeowner may be able to borrow up to 95% LTV (loan to value). More likely, it will be in the 75%-85% range. There are very few 125% LTV mortgages anymore, and subprime borrowers won t qualify for these.

Subprime borrowers should work with a company that understands their particular needs; one that sees more than their past problems and that specializes in flexible, affordable mortgage solutions.

Mortgage Refinancing Advice

Check your credit - According to the government loan agency, Freddie Mac, up to 15% of subprime borrowers have credit scores that qualify them for traditional loans. Don t settle for subprime rates if you can get prime-rate mortgage refinancing.

Watch your costs - Interest rates won t vary much among subprime mortgages, however, there are some aspects of the loan structure that will impact the bottom line, such as:
- length of the mortgage term; 10, 15 or 30 years
- if it is a fixed-rate loan or an adjustable-rate loan
- whether any points have to be paid ( a point equals one percent of the loan)
- what kind of processing fees and closing costs are required

Look for good customer service - A good lender will walk potential borrowers through the application process, verifying personal information and making sure all the terms of the loan are understood. The lender will also recommend whether to lock in an interest rate during the processing phase or let the rate float until the closing.

Get a free quote - Prospective borrowers looking for refinancing can take advantage of sites like Bad Credit Mortgage Refinancing Now.

Mike Hamel is the author of three business books and several articles about mortgage financing. His material is featured on sites like Bad Credit Mortgage Refinancing Now.