Half a million Chicago-area homeowners eligible to refinance

The firm, Black Knight, found that 507,000 Chicago-area homeowners with a mortgage meet the criteria for refinancing: a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, credit scores of 720 or higher, current on payments and an 80 percent equity stake or more in the house. The refinance rate would be at least three-quarters of a percentage point below their existing mortgage’s rate.

The 507,000 who meet those criteria are 24 percent of the region’s homeowners with a mortgage. Nationwide, about 27 percent of homeowners would qualify.

Early in 2020, low interest rates sparked a refinancing wave so big that some lenders increased the rates they offered, merely to slow the traffic.

Now, they may be less likely to install speed bumps. In the Chicago area, home sales, which usually require a new purchase mortgage, have in the past few months been running at about 55 percent of sales at the same time in 2019, according to weekly reports from Midwest Real Estate Data.

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