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Tree.com Inc : LendingTree Monthly Mortgage Review: Refinance Now Before Competition Heats in Spring

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03/06/2012 | 12:20pm EDT

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Though average mortgage rates remained stable for February, according to the LendingTree Monthly Mortgage Review, high rate variance between lenders, new government programs for homeowners, and the decline in mortgage costs are combining for a spring season that could leave lenders flush with volume.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110518/MM04455LOGO )

When combined with historically low rates and declining home prices, the time is now for those looking to refinance before the competitive spring season begins and changes the lending landscape.

"What we are seeing is a very small window of opportunity to refinance for those who can qualify," says Doug Lebda, founder and CEO of LendingTree. "As more pieces of government programs designed to help homeowners emerge, we see the refinance demand increasing. Borrowers who are in the position to refinance should take advantage of the low-rate environment and comparison shop for their home loan while the opportunity is still available."

Spring 2012 Mortgage Market Expectations

    --  Recent Pending Home Sales Index reached a two-year high, signaling a
        strong spring home-buying season.
    --  Demand for mortgage refinancings under government programs is
        increasing, up 10% in February (Mortgage Bankers Association).
    --  Seasonality comes into play during spring months where the industry
        experiences increased consumer demand for mortgages.
    --  Based on supply and demand, as lenders see more demand for loans,
        borrowers could see an increase in rates.

LendingTree tracked the lowest, average and highest rates offered from more than 200 lenders on the LendingTree network for each loan program in February.

    Loan Program  Min. Rate Offered Avg. Rate Offered Max. Rate Offered
    ------------  ----------------- ----------------- -----------------
    30-Year Fixed                   3.125%            4.250%            5.900%
    -------------                   -----             -----             -----
    15-Year Fixed                   2.500%            3.420%            5.375%
    -------------                   -----             -----             -----
    5/1 (ARM)                       2.250%            3.070%            5.125%
    ---------                       -----             -----             -----

In February, 2012, average mortgage rates offered by LendingTree network lenders were 4.25 percent (4.52% APR) for 30-year fixed mortgages, 3.48 percent (3.89% APR) for 15-year fixed mortgages and 3.21 percent (3.47% APR) for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages (ARM), showing a slight decrease month over month.

In terms of the best rates in the country, key markets in Texas, including Austin, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, as well as Boston, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. are experiencing better-than-average rates for those looking to borrow.

The top ten metro areas with the lowest average rates according to LendingTree data for February are:

    Top Ten Metro Areas with Lowest Average Rate
    Metro Area                                   30-yr Fixed Rate
    ----------                                   ----------------
    Austin, TX                                                    4.06%
    ----------                                                    ----
    Santa Barbara, CA                                             4.10%
    -----------------                                             ----
    Houston, TX                                                   4.11%
    -----------                                                   ----
    Dallas - Fort Worth, TX                                       4.12%
    -----------------------                                       ----
    San Antonio, TX                                               4.15%
    ---------------                                               ----
    Oxnard - Thousand Oaks - Ventura, CA                          4.15%
    ------------------------------------                          ----
    San Jose - Sunnyvale - Santa Clara, CA                        4.16%
    --------------------------------------                        ----
    Seattle, WA                                                   4.16%
    -----------                                                   ----
    Bridgeport - Stamford - Norwalk, CT                           4.16%
    -----------------------------------                           ----
    Washington, DC                                                4.17%
    --------------                                                ----
    New York, NY                                                  4.17%
    ------------                                                  ----

The LendingTree Monthly Mortgage Snapshot is published the first week of each month and tracks the lowest and average mortgage rates offered by lenders on the LendingTree network, offers an industry overview and provides an outlook for the month ahead. Home loan rates above are reflective of actual rates offered to borrowers by lenders on the LendingTree network. Lowest rates shown reflect the payment of one discount point. Rates will vary based on the borrower's loan details and credit profile. Visit www.lendingtree.com to learn more.

About LendingTree, LLC
LendingTree, LLC is the nation's leading online lender exchange and personal finance resource, helping consumers take charge of all their financial decisions, from budgeting to money management to mortgages to credit cards and more. LendingTree provides a marketplace that connects consumers with multiple lenders that compete for their business, as well as an array of online tools to aid consumers in their financial decisions. Since inception, LendingTree has facilitated more than 30 million loan requests and $214 billion in closed loan transactions. LendingTree provides access to lenders offering mortgages and refinance loans, home equity loans/lines of credit, and more. LendingTree, LLC is a subsidiary of Tree.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: TREE). For more information go to www.lendingtree.com, dial 800-555-TREE, join our Facebook page and/or follow us on Twitter @LendingTree.

Megan Greuling

SOURCE LendingTree, LLC

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