Coronavirus fears have affected the stock market and interest rates: Should you be taking advantage?

BOSTON — One of the only positive sides of the global outbreak of COVID-19 is the effect it’s had on stocks and interest rates.
Now, experts say it might be a better time than ever to look into refinancing or buying a home. While it all depends on your type of mortgage, meaning that for many refinancing wouldn’t even be worth it, it definitely doesn’t hurt to do the math and double check.

“The coronavirus fears have really impacted these rates,” said Virna Brown, a senior loan officer.

Mortgage loan officers like Brown have been keeping busy since coronavirus has continued to spread and shake up the markets. According to Brown, the viral outbreak has been keeping interest rates at a record low.

“We literally work until 2 a.m. when the market goes like this; we are not resting and we’re only able to have so much capacity in a day,” said Brown.

However, she clarifies that the recent emergency rate cut by federal officials doesn’t directly impact mortgage interest rates, but still, those rates remain low. This is good news for anyone looking into buying a home.

“It makes it great for the first time homebuyer because we might have been pricing them out of the market if the interest rates were, say 4.5% or 5%, but now that we’re down low in the low 3s, now it becomes a little more palatable for them,” said Brown.

Despite rates being low, Brown says it’ll still cost you to refinance. The amount you’d save depends on your current mortgage, but if you’re serious about refinancing, Brown says you should get the application done.

“Getting your mortgage loan application together with all your documents and having it processed through to an underwriter will give you that edge so that when the market does start to flip and maybe go down to a point where you feel comfortable at locking, you’ll be the one that’s already set,” said Brown.

The good news is, while Brown says you should be proactive about it, there’s no rush -- these low rates will likely last at least for the next few months.

“I think we’re going to see this for a little while longer, and people might not be refinancing once, but maybe even twice,” said Brown.

As for her last piece of advice, Brown says people should be patient when going through the process, as most loan officers are very busy right now and may need a couple of days to respond.