The New HARP: Performing for a Larger Underwater Audience

MHProNews has learned in a report from DSnews the Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA) has redesigned HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) to bolster more underwater homeowners, and thereby buoy the housing market a little longer. Originally, only those who owed more than 25 percent above the value of their home could apply, but they have now lifted that ceiling, while continuing availability to borrowers with with LTV ratios above 80 percent. They also eliminated some fees, and will allow the transfer of the original insurance on the loan to the refi. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have waived certain appraisal and warranty regulations, and the program has been extended to Dec. 31, 2013. One million mortgages have been refinanced through HARP, and the FHFA is anticipating a million more. Homeowners must be current on payments; and their mortgage had to have been sold to the GSEs by June 1, 2009. “We anticipate that the package of improvements being made to HARP will reduce the Enterprises credit risk, bring greater stability to mortgage markets, and reduce foreclosure risks,” FHFA stated in its announcement. Michael J. Williams, Fannie Mae’s president and CEO, says it will allow “more eligible homeowners to take advantage of the low interest rates.” Charles E. Haldeman, Jr., CEO of Freddie Mac said, “These changes mark another step on the road to recovery for the nation’s housing market.”

(Photo credit: DSnews)

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