The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced that the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) has reached a significant milestone as more than three million homeowners have now refinanced their mortgages through the program. This noteworthy achievement is detailed in FHFA’s November 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 Web site, 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 three million through HARP, and have also completed more than three 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.