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Washington, D.C. – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced today that the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) has reached a significant milestone: more than 3 million homeowners have now refinanced their mortgages through the program. This noteworthy achievement is detailed in FHFA’s November 2013 Refinance Report.
"Three million HARP refinances is an important accomplishment and represents real help to families and communities still struggling as a result of the mortgage crisis," said FHFA Director Mel Watt. "We are continuing our efforts to make sure that those who can take advantage of this program have the information they need to do so."
HARP is designed specifically to provide borrowers who owe more than their home is worth the opportunity to refinance their mortgage at today’s historical low rates. It was first established in April 2009 by the FHFA and the U.S. Department of the Treasury as part of the Making Home Affordable program. In November 2011, FHFA directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to implement enhancements to HARP in an effort to reach more eligible borrowers. These included allowing homeowners with a greater than 125 percent loan-to-value ratio the ability to participate in the program and eliminating the need for new property appraisals where a reliable automated valuation model estimate is provided by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
The number of HARP refinances increased dramatically as a result of these enhancements. The number of HARP refinances completed in 2012 almost equaled the total number of refinances completed over the prior three years. In 2013, FHFA extended the deadline for HARP to Dec. 31, 2015 and launched a nationwide campaign to educate eligible homeowners to encourage greater participation. The campaign includes a new website, www.HARP.gov, and public service announcements that began airing in targeted markets last month.
Preventing foreclosures and maintaining credit availability for refinances have been priorities for FHFA. In total, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have now completed more than 18 million refinances since the start of conservatorship, including the 3 million through HARP, and have also completed more than 3 million foreclosure prevention actions, which include loan modifications, short sales and other programs. These actions are detailed in FHFA’s recently released third quarter Foreclosure Prevention Report.
Link to November 2013 Refinance Report
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury introduced the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) in April 2009 as part of the Making Home Affordable program. HARP provides borrowers, who may not otherwise qualify for a refinance because of declining home values or reduced access to mortgage insurance, the ability to refinance their mortgage into a lower interest rate and/or more stable mortgage product.
What are the eligibility requirements?
To be eligible for a HARP refinance homeowners must meet the following criteria:
The borrower must be current on their mortgage payments with no 30-day+ late payments in the last six months and no more than one late payment in the last 12 months.
The home must be the borrower’s primary residence, a 1-unit second home or a 1- to 4-unit investment property.
The loan must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
The mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009.
The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80 percent.
The mortgage cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously unless it is a Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced under HARP from March–May, 2009.
Are borrowers whose loans are not owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae eligible?
Neither FHFA nor Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac has the legal authority to extend HARP to borrowers whose mortgages are not owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Are mortgages on condominiums and investment properties eligible for refinance under HARP?
Is there a maximum LTV ratio for HARP?
There is no maximum LTV limit for borrower eligibility. If the borrower refinances under HARP and their new loan is a fixed rate mortgage, there is no maximum LTV. If the borrower refinances and their new loan is an adjustable rate mortgage, their LTV may not be above 105 percent.
Is HARP the only refinance program available to borrowers?
HARP is only one of several refinancing options available to homeowners and is unique in that it is the only refinance program that enables borrowers with little to no equity in their homes to take advantage of low interest rates and other refinancing benefits.
How can borrowers take advantage of HARP and avoid scams?
Go to www.HARP.gov to discover the steps required to secure a HARP loan and for helpful tips on avoiding scams.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks. These government-sponsored enterprises provide more than $5.5 trillion in funding for the U.S. mortgage markets and financial institutions.
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