Friday, November 05, 2010

A Surge in Refinancings

October saw a substantial increase in the number of mortgages recorded in the Middlesex North District. For the ten communities in the district (Billerica, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Lowell, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Westford and Wilmington), there were 1508 mortgages recorded in October 2010, a 37% increase from the 1101 recorded in October 2009. Because only 447 deeds were recorded during October 2010, it is reasonable to conclude that at least two-thirds of the new mortgages were the result of homeowners refinancing their existing loans to take advantage of the historically low interest rates now available.

Unfortunately, this mini-boom in refinancing is not distributed evenly across the district but is instead a suburban-based phenomenon. While the district-wide increase in mortgage recordings from October 2009 to October 2010 was 37%, the increase in the city of Lowell was only 9% while the nine towns in the district saw a 45% increase. Westford had the largest percentage increase, rising from 128 mortgages recorded in October 2009 to 205 in October 2010, a 60% jump. Tyngsborough had a 47% increase, from 55 to 81; Billerica rose 43%, from 151 to 216; Chelmsford increased 42%, from 142 to 201; and Tewksbury climbed 29%, from 129 to 167. Dracut was the only town that had a rate of increase – 13% - which can be attributed, in part, to the relatively high rate of foreclosures still being seen in Dracut.

The entities making these new loans are quite diverse although some of the big national lenders retain a large share of the market. Of the October 2010 suburban mortgages, Bank of America was most active with 76, followed by Wells Fargo with 61 and Leader Bank with 42. Local banks were also quite active during this October: Jeanne d’Arc Credit Union had 35 suburban mortgages; Enterprise Bank and Trust had 25; Lowell Five Cent Savings had 15 as did Washington Savings Bank and Lowell Cooperative Bank had 12.

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