Home loan rates below 5 percent, their lowest level of the year, are fueling a refinancing boom. “Nobody ever thought they’d see a rate with a 4 in front of it again, but here we are,” notes Faramarz Moeen-Ziai of Bank of Commerce Mortgage, based in San Ramon, California. Brokers say homeowners should jump at the low rates, pointing out that the more the talk of recovery gains steam, the more pressure there will be on rates to go up. They add that more homeowners should be eligible to refinance now because home values have risen in the past six months. Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com, says he expects rates to remain close to the 5 percent mark for the first half of the summer. “But continued improvement in the U.S. economy will ultimately mean higher mortgage rates, but it will be a little bit later in the year than we had expected,” he says. A report from the Mortgage Bankers Association indicates refinance applications recently increased to their highest level since October, and made up 72 percent of all applications. Most lenders require owners to have 15 or 20 percent equity in their homes in order to qualify for a refinance. “The home price is critical to the ability of homeowners to refinance, because for many, their equity had been completely erased by falling prices” over the past few years, says McBride. | Read More