The total volume of mortgage refinances continued to decline through the first three months of 2014, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's First Quarter 2014 Refinance Report. Total refinance volume for the first quarter topped 370,000 while refinances through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) stood at just under 77,000. This marks the fourth straight quarter in which total refinances and HARP refinances have declined. The report notes that refinance volume was down in March as mortgage interest rates rose.
Over the last five years, more than 19 million refinances have been completed, including 3.1 million through HARP. As announced recently by FHFA Director Mel Watt, efforts are underway to retarget HARP outreach to reach approximately 750,000 remaining eligible borrowers who could still benefit from the program.
Also in the first quarter 2014 report:
►HARP volume represented roughly 21 percent of total refinance volume in the first quarter of 2014.
►Through the first quarter, 23 percent of HARP refinances for underwater borrowers (those with a loan-to-value ratio greater than 105 percent) were for 15- and 20-year mortgages, which build equity faster than traditional 30-year mortgages.
►HARP continued to account for a substantial portion of refinance volume in certain states. Through the first quarter, HARP refinances represented 41 percent of total refinances in Georgia and 38 percent of total refinances in Florida, nearly double the 21 percent of total refinances nationwide over the same period.