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Byline: R. Michelle Breyer
Dec. 19--In tough economic times, the mortgage refinancing boom has been a boost to the Central Texas economy, pumping in $800 million since the beginning of 2001, according to a study released Wednesday.
Refinancing, spurred by record-low interest rates, accounted for 20 percent of the growth in the region's gross area product, according to Economy.com, which conducted the study for the Homeownership Alliance.
"It allows households to free up cash for other things -- everything from buying cars to fixing houses to eating out at restaurants," said author Mark Zandi, chief economist of Economy.com, a consulting firm based …