You've likely heard the new rules on HARP, the government's Home Affordable Refinance Program, on refinancing underwater loans for borrowers who are current. Credit Suisse estimates that roughly 720,000 borrowers will be able to refinance, resulting in $2 to 3 billion in interest savings annually.

The devil is in the details, and lenders won't be able to adopt the new HARP guidelines until regulators provide more details, which are forthcoming in two weeks. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the new guidelines will be favorable to borrowers desperate to refinance their loans.

We bring up HARP because it could have an impact on the supply-and-demand dynamic and mortgage rates. We expect refinances will accelerate as more details are released. If the details are more favorable than the market expects, that could produce a surge in refinance demand, which could move rates higher.

In short, we don't think now is the time to wait on refinancing. Not only could a surge in mortgage demand move rates higher, but so could continued improvement in the world's economies. The stock market is a useful gauge in measuring optimism and economic outlook. Over the past three weeks, all the major stock-market barometers have been on an upward tear, suggesting more people are becoming more optimistic each day.

Courtesy of Jessica Regan.

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