NEW YORK ( CNBC) -- U.S. home owners are refinancing their mortgages at the fastest clip since 2005, but the difference now is they are putting cash in, not taking it out. At the going rate, 25% of all first-lien U.S. mortgages will be refinanced this year, according to LPS Applied Analytics. That represents about $7.1 billion -- just through June of this year -- in savings on monthly payments, according to economists at Freddie Mac, who ran the numbers for this report. Seven years ago, refinancing wasn't about saving on monthly payments; it was about pulling cash out. Homeowners extracted close to a trillion dollars collectively in home equity in 2005 and largely put it toward home remodeling, swimming pools, cars, vacations and retail spending. Today, 81% of homeowners refinancing their first-lien mortgages either kept the same loan amount or lowered their principal balance by paying-in additional money at closing, according to Freddie Mac.
By Diana Olick, CNBC Correspondent
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