The boom in mortgage refinancings appears to be tailing off in Southern California, especially in the Los Angeles area.

Figures from TRW Redi Property Data, Riverside, Calif. for the first half of

this year show a decline of 7.3% in refinancings in Los Angeles, by far the state's biggest mortgage market, to about 237,000 new loans. Orange, Ventura, and Santa Barbara Counties also showed drops, but all were under 4%. Together, the southern counties had an average decline of 1.3% since last year's first half.

Nima Mattah, TRW Redi's market analyst, said the slowdown in Southern California was attributable to "a shrinking pool of homeowners who stand to benefit from historic low interest rates, as well as the negative-equity syndrome that many homeowners find themselves in."

In Northern California, the picture was quite different. In Santa Clara County, No. 1 in terms of number of loans, refis jumped 14.5%. In No. 2 Alameda County, the gain was 10.3%.

The average gain for the northern counties was 8.6%.

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