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Homeowners Rush To Refinance Mortgage Loans

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RALEIGH, N.C. — As for-sale signs pop up in yards all across the Triangle, more people are taking advantage of the low mortgage rates. It has even tempted homeowners to refinance and mortgage companies are reaping the benefits.

For the second time in four months, Jeff Summers will refinance his home of five years.

"For the four months, it's been a good deal, but now that rates are lower, I want to take advantage of that," he said.

Summers could save $100 a month, but officials say the time to act is now. Although mortgage rates are still at or near a 40-year low, experts say the war in Iraq had rates fluctuating in the last couple of weeks.

"With the events of the war, we have some outside influences that may cause rates on any given day to take a much bigger spike or drops," said Bill Calder, of Cunningham and Co.

Calder said business in his office has been nonstop. On average, he closes up to 50 mortgage loans per month, which is a 10 percent to 20 percent increase from this time last year.

"A lot of consumers have a target rate in mind and when we get there, they want to come in as quick as possible and throw the switch, lock it in before it goes back up again," Calder said.

Summers' target rate is 4.5 percent, but he knows waiting for that magic number could be tricky.

"Anything can affect those rates. They bounce around as much as the stock market does," he said.

Mortgage companies say the rates will continue to fluctuate until there is some resolution to the war in Iraq.


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