Nearly half of all mortgage loans in October so far are refinances.? This is the first month in a long time that refinances are higher than purchases.? Mortgage interest rates have dropped enough that existing homeowners find it financially beneficial to refinance to a lower rate.? Also, home values have appreciated? so many homeowners are tapping the new equity and taking cash out to pay off debt and do home improvements.? This has been a good boost to mortgage lenders volume during a typical time when purchase loan volume drops off.