Refis on the Rise: Time to Take the Plunge?

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In the morass of glum housing news, there is one bright spot: Tantalizing low mortgage rates are continuing to entice more homeowners to refinance. The number of applications to refinance has tripled in the past year, says the Mortgage Bankers Assn.

Refinance applications soared 18% in the week ending Oct. 2 compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Assn. Rates on 30-year fixed rate conforming home loans dropped to 4.89% -- their lowest level in four months. (They hit a record low of 4.78% in the spring.) Some refinance rates are even better for borrowers with stronger credit, say experts.