HARP hits 3 million refis

by MPA11 Feb 2014
The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s once-struggling refi program has now refinanced more than 3 million home loans.

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), designed to allow borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth to refinance their mortgages. First established in 2009, the program struggled at first to attract borrowers. By 2011, less than a million borrowers had taken advantage of the program. Homes with loan-to-value ratios greater than 125% weren’t eligible for the program, and HARP’s short duration (about 15 months) kept lenders from investing the resources to market or originate HARP loans.

In November of that year, the FHFA instructed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to restructure the program to entice more eligible borrowers. The 125% LTV limit was lifted and the program was extended, resulting in a dramatic increase in new HARP refinances. The program refinanced almost as many loans in 2012 as it had during the previous three years combined.

In 2013, the FHFA extended the program’s deadline to Dec. 31, 2015 and launched a nationwide awareness campaign to educate borrowers about HARP, bringing even more borrowers into the fold. Today the program is seen as one of the government’s more successful anti-foreclosure efforts, according to a Reuters 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.”


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