Mortgage Rates Hit 37-Year Lows: Time to Refi?

Yesterday, Freddie Mac announced that rates on 30-year fixed mortgages averaged 5.19%, the lowest we've seen in 37 years.

"Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates fell for the seventh consecutive week, moving these rates to the lowest since the survey began in April 1971," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.

The drop came as no surprise since the Fed also cut interest rates to historic lows - announcing a target range of 0 to .25 percent on Wednesday.

While the plunge in mortgage rates is definitely a step in the right direction to stabilize the housing market, it might not be as much help as many are hoping. The real problem we face as a nation is the spike in foreclosures due to an inability for many existing homeowners to pay their adjustable-rate mortgages. The decline in rates is not likely to help these folks or others in trouble, who in most cases have little to no equity in their homes and have credit too poor to qualify for a refinance.

Still, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported a jump in mortgage applications, as troubled homebuyers try to save themselves. But while they may be able to see the dangling carrot, it might be just out of reach.

Jackie DeAngelis is a writer and producer at CNBC. Previously she worked as a financial analyst at Oaktree Capital Mgmt. Jackie earned her J.D. from Rutgers Law School in 2008 and her B.A. in Asian Studies from Cornell University in 2002