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TRENTON – Data released today by the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG) and the Center for Responsible Lending finds that making it easier for homeowners to refinance their mortgages could give consumers more options, save money, and stabilize New Jersey’s housing market. In NJ alone, 402,431 families would qualify, saving them $1.67 billion.
“Right now, mortgage rates are below 4%, but nearly half of homeowners are stuck paying 5% or higher because they can’t refinance,” said Jen Kim, State Director for NJPIRG. “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.”
Senator Robert Menendez has introduced a bill that, for homeowners who are current on their mortgages, would lift unnecessary barriers to refinancing and allowing consumers to shop around when refinancing their loan.
“This report makes crystal clear why we need to pass my bill to allow responsible homeowners to refinance at today’s low rates,” said Senator Menendez, who introduced the Helping Responsible Homeowners Refinance Act with Senator Barbara Boxer. “Homeowners who work hard and play by the rules should be able to get a better deal. Not only would that put thousands of dollars back in the pockets of middle class families, it would give a boost to our economy.”
According to the data released today, adopting these reforms would help 402,431 families, allowing them each to save $4,143 on average. Nationwide, over 12 million would qualify, for total savings of over $39 billion to the country’s economy.
“Congress has an opportunity to bring struggling homeowners much-needed relief and stem the tide of foreclosures,” concluded Kim. “Our representatives should come together on these common-sense solutions.”
The data can be downloaded here: http://njpirg.org/reports/njp/remove-barriers-low-interest-rates.
NJPIRG is a statewide, non partisan, non profit consumer advocacy group. For more information go to www.njpirg.org
Recently, Senator Menendez launched a webpage on his proposal and asked New Jerseyans for their feedback (go to www.menendez.senate .gov/refinance)
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