How Low Can They Go?

Falling interest rates have become the most powerful force in a balky economy

MARC COHEN, A HOMEOWNER IN Woodland Hills, California, has a new annual chore. For the past three years in a row, he has refinanced his family's five- bedroom house. "My wife says, 'You must be kidding -- you're doing it again?' " says Cohen, a Merrill Lynch vice president. "It's a pain to do it, but for three weeks of aggravation, you get years of savings on the interest." For his trouble, Cohen now enjoys a 15-year mortgage fixed at 6 3/ 4%, down from the 11 1/2% adjustable-rate loan he originally took out in 1989. His total monthly savings on...

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