U.S. Cities Where Homeowners Are Most Likely to Refinance Their Mortgage [2021 Edition]

As mortgage interest rates inch up, mortgage refinancing applications are dropping. This comes after refinancing exploded in 2020 during the pandemic as interest rates reached record lows. According to the most recent loan-level mortgage data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, there were about 3.1 million mortgage refinances approved in 2019—a number ultimately projected to be much higher for 2020 and 2021.

Most commonly, mortgage refinancing allows a homeowner to replace their existing loan with a new loan at a lower interest rate. Certain types of refinancing agreements also enable the homeowner to receive cash in exchange for accrued home equity. In 2019, about 40% of refinances were cash-out and the overall approval rate was 81%. The most common reason for refinancing denials was a high debt-to-income ratio, cited in nearly 38% of refinancing applications. Credit history was the second most common reason for refinancing denials, mentioned in almost one in four denials.


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The proportion of households that refinance their mortgage varies considerably across regions of the country. In the U.S. overall, there were 64 mortgage refinances approved per 1,000 households with mortgages in 2019. Refinancing is much more common in the western U.S. where home prices have appreciated rapidly over the past decade. Out of all 50 states, Utah had the most per capita mortgage refinances, at 128 refinances per 1,000 households with a mortgage. At just 32 refinances per 1,000 households with a mortgage, Alaska had the fewest.

To find the metropolitan areas with the most mortgage refinances, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed the latest data from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, the U.S. Census Bureau, and Zillow. The researchers ranked metros according to the number of mortgage refinance approvals per 1,000 households with a mortgage. In the event of a tie, the metro with the larger number of mortgage refinance approvals was ranked higher. Researchers also calculated the median loan amount, the share of all refinances that are cash-out, the mortgage refinance approval rate, and the 10-year change in average home prices.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, metro areas were grouped into the following cohorts based on population size: 

  • Small metros: 100,000–349,999
  • Midsize metros: 350,000–999,999
  • Large metros: 1,000,000 or more

Here are the U.S. metropolitan areas with the most mortgage refinances.

Large Metros With the Most Mortgage Refinances

Grand Rapids, MI

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15. Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI

  • Mortgage refinances per 1K households w/ a mortgage: 81
  • Total annual mortgage refinances: 14,625
  • Median loan amount: $145,000
  • Share of all refinances that are cash-out: 39.6%
  • Mortgage refinance approval rate: 86.6%
  • 10-year change in home price: 61.6%

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Milwaukee, WI

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14. Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI

  • Mortgage refinances per 1K households w/ a mortgage: 86
  • Total annual mortgage refinances: 21,437
  • Median loan amount: $175,000
  • Share of all refinances that are cash-out: 36.7%
  • Mortgage refinance approval rate: 85.6%
  • 10-year change in home price: 16.7%
Las Vegas, NV

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13. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

  • Mortgage refinances per 1K households w/ a mortgage: 88
  • Total annual mortgage refinances: 26,843
  • Median loan amount: $225,000
  • Share of all refinances that are cash-out: 45.3%
  • Mortgage refinance approval rate: 79.7%
  • 10-year change in home price: 67.5%
Boston, MA

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12. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

  • Mortgage refinances per 1K households w/ a mortgage: 89
  • Total annual mortgage refinances: 70,881
  • Median loan amount: $325,000
  • Share of all refinances that are cash-out: 35.8%
  • Mortgage refinance approval rate: 84.0%
  • 10-year change in home price: 39.3%

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One of the most common reasons homeowners refinance their mortgage is to take out cash for home improvement projects like renovations, replacement windows, or gutter guards.


Portland, OR

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11. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

  • Mortgage refinances per 1K households w/ a mortgage: 90
  • Total annual mortgage refinances: 37,888
  • Median loan amount: $285,000
  • Share of all refinances that are cash-out: 44.4%
  • Mortgage refinance approval rate: 86.2%
  • 10-year change in home price: 52.3%
Riverside, CA

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10. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

  • Mortgage refinances per 1K households w/ a mortgage: 92
  • Total annual mortgage refinances: 57,305
  • Median loan amount: $295,000
  • Share of all refinances that are cash-out: 46.8%
  • Mortgage refinance approval rate: 81.1%
  • 10-year change in home price: 79.1%
Seattle, WA

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9. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

  • Mortgage refinances per 1K households w/ a mortgage: 100
  • Total annual mortgage refinances: 66,061
  • Median loan amount: $345,000
  • Share of all refinances that are cash-out: 38.0%
  • Mortgage refinance approval rate: 85.7%
  • 10-year change in home price: 55.1%
Phoenix, AZ

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8. Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ

  • Mortgage refinances per 1K households w/ a mortgage: 103
  • Total annual mortgage refinances: 78,101
  • Median loan amount: $235,000
  • Share of all refinances that are cash-out: 40.3%
  • Mortgage refinance approval rate: 85.5%
  • 10-year change in home price: 61.7%
Los Angeles, CA

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7. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

  • Mortgage refinances per 1K households w/ a mortgage: 118
  • Total annual mortgage refinances: 173,148
  • Median loan amount: $435,000
  • Share of all refinances that are cash-out: 42.1%
  • Mortgage refinance approval rate: 82.5%
  • 10-year change in home price: 55.5%
San Diego, CA

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6. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA

  • Mortgage refinances per 1K households w/ a mortgage: 118
  • Total annual mortgage refinances: 50,555
  • Median loan amount: $415,000
  • Share of all refinances that are cash-out: 39.6%
  • Mortgage refinance approval rate: 83.8%
  • 10-year change in home price: 57.2%
Sacramento, CA

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5. Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA

  • Mortgage refinances per 1K households w/ a mortgage: 119
  • Total annual mortgage refinances: 42,868
  • Median loan amount: $305,000
  • Share of all refinances that are cash-out: 42.2%
  • Mortgage refinance approval rate: 85.4%
  • 10-year change in home price: 60.9%
Denver, CO

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4. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

  • Mortgage refinances per 1K households w/ a mortgage: 123
  • Total annual mortgage refinances: 68,237
  • Median loan amount: $305,000
  • Share of all refinances that are cash-out: 44.3%
  • Mortgage refinance approval rate: 85.8%
  • 10-year change in home price: 80.7%
Salt Lake City, UT

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3. Salt Lake City, UT

  • Mortgage refinances per 1K households w/ a mortgage: 130
  • Total annual mortgage refinances: 26,027
  • Median loan amount: $255,000
  • Share of all refinances that are cash-out: 41.9%
  • Mortgage refinance approval rate: 86.1%
  • 10-year change in home price: 53.8%
San Francisco, CA

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2. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA

  • Mortgage refinances per 1K households w/ a mortgage: 132
  • Total annual mortgage refinances: 85,818
  • Median loan amount: $515,000
  • Share of all refinances that are cash-out: 35.9%
  • Mortgage refinance approval rate: 84.4%
  • 10-year change in home price: 89.8%
San Jose, CA

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1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

  • Mortgage refinances per 1K households w/ a mortgage: 143
  • Total annual mortgage refinances: 35,413
  • Median loan amount: $595,000
  • Share of all refinances that are cash-out: 31.1%
  • Mortgage refinance approval rate: 84.5%
  • 10-year change in home price: 88.2%

Detailed Findings & Methodology

The majority of the large metros with the most mortgage refinances are located in the western part of the country with many in California. The San Jose metro, which has the most per capita refinances out of all large metros, has 143 refinances per 1,000 households with a mortgage, over double the national rate of 64. The San Francisco metro is close behind with 132 refinances per 1,000 mortgage-holding households. These metros also tend to have high refinance approval rates, averaging over 84%. The median loan amount varies substantially, from $145,000 in the Grand Rapids metro area to nearly $600,000 in San Jose.

Similar to the large metro group, the small and midsize metros with the most mortgage refinances are predominantly located in the west and on the west coast. The share of refinances that are cash-out varies, from about 24% to nearly 58%. These metros also tend to have high refinancing approval rates.

There’s a strong relationship between home price appreciation and mortgage refinancing rates. Metros with large 10-year changes in average home prices tend to have more mortgage refinances per capita. Due to increases in home value, homeowners in these metros have more equity in their homes, making refinancing an attractive option.


Mortgage refinancing approval rates vary on a geographic basis due to factors such as home price appreciation. At the state level, North Dakota and Iowa have the highest refinance approval rates at 88.7% and 87.3%, respectively. At the opposite end of the spectrum, homeowners in Florida are the least likely to have their refinancing applications approved. The refinance approval rate in Florida is just 72.3%, nearly nine percentage points below the national rate of 81%.

To find the locations with the most mortgage refinances, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed the latest data from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey, and Zillow’s Zillow Home Value Index. The researchers ranked metros according to the number of mortgage refinance approvals per 1,000 households with a mortgage. In the event of a tie, the metro with the larger number of mortgage refinance approvals was ranked higher. Researchers also calculated the median loan amount, the share of all refinances that are cash-out, the mortgage refinance approval rate, and the 10-year change in average home prices.

Only conventional, single-family mortgage applications were considered in the analysis. In the calculation of approval rates, withdrawn and incomplete applications as well as purchased loans were excluded.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, metro areas were grouped into the following cohorts based on population size: 

  • Small metros: 100,000–349,999
  • Midsize metros: 350,000–999,999
  • Large metros: 1,000,000 or more

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