HARP extended to December 2015

Capitol Building 2All good things don’t come to an end. Or at least they don’t always end as soon as was originally planned.

The latest example is the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which was scheduled to expire Dec. 31, 2013, but has now been extended an additional two years to Dec. 31, 2015.

Underwater refinancing

The program is being continued to allow more homeowners to refinance at low interest rates even if their mortgage debt exceeds the value of their home, Edward J. DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), said in a statement.

The FHFA also said it plans to launch a nationwide campaign to educate homeowners about HARP and its eligibility requirements in order to motivate them to utilize HARP before it ends.

HARP guidelines

Here’s a brief recap of the HARP guidelines:

  • Your existing loan must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. To find out whether your loan meets this test, use the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Loan Lookup functions
  • Your existing loan must have been originated on or before May 31, 2009
  • Your mortgage payments must be current
  • You must not have made more than one late payment in the past 12 months and no late payments within the last six months
  • Condominium and residential investment property loans are eligible
  • The loan-to-value ratio (LTV) for your existing loan must be more than 80 percent
  • There is no maximum LTV for your existing loan
  • If your new loan will be a fixed-rate mortgage, there is no maximum LTV
  • If your new loan will be an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), the maximum LTV is 105 percent

The other criteria also applies and has not been changed as part of the latest HARP extension, according to FHFA.

HARP refinancing report

HARP was established in 2009 to help homeowners who couldn’t refinance because the value of their home had fallen. As of January 2013, approximately 2.2 million homeowners have refinanced through HARP, according to FHFA.

Approximately 97,600 HARP refinances were completed in that month, the latest for which FHFA has issued a refinance report.

If you want to refinance through HARP, use the Loan Lookup functions to confirm that your existing loan is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, then contact your current lender or any other HARP-participating lender to apply.

HSH Associates Financial News Blog

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