Thursday, May 9, 2013

HARP Update

Refinances through the government's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) remained strong as mortgage rates stayed near record-low levels, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) most recent refinance report. In February, 97,738 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans were refinanced under the program, bringing the total to 2.3 million since HARP's April 2009 inception. Underwater borrowers also continued to represent a large share total HARP refinance volume.

In Nevada, Arizona, and Florida, the share was even greater with underwater borrowers representing 65 percent or more of HARP volume over the first two months of the year. In California and Georgia, the share of HARP refis for underwater borrowers was 58 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

Among the underwater borrowers, 18 percent opted for shorter-term 15-and 20-year mortgages, which build equity faster than traditional 30-year mortgages.

HARP, which was set to expire at the end of this year, will live on for two more years after receiving an extension into December 31, 2015.