The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)
has scored a significant milestone according to the Federal Housing Finance
Agency, hitting the 3 million mark for refinances. The cumulative number of homes refinanced
through the program totaled 3,027,937 at the end of November. Although the
program was initiated in April 2009, 1.9 million of its refinances took place
in 2012 and year-to-date 2013 after significant enhancements were made to loan
limits and eligibility.
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 available to assist homeowners
with existing mortgages held or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (the
GSEs) and is specifically targeted toward those with little or no equity in
their homes. Originally designed for refinancing
loans with loan to value ratios up to 105 percent, limits were raised several
times and then eliminated altogether.
The majority of the 862,892 loans refinanced in 2013 (through November)
had loan to value ratios under 105 percent (513,476), but about 20 percent
(165,568) had LTV's exceeding 125 percent.
There were 38,732 HARP refinances
completed in November compared to 46,387 in October. However, as total refinances through the GSEs
declined with rising interest rates and seasonal factors, HARP refinances
represented 24 percent of GSE refinances in both months. Approximately 24,000 of the HARP refinances
in November were done through Fannie Mae as compared to 24,000 the previous
month and Freddie Mac did 15,000, down from 18,000.
Of the 3.03 million HARP refinances
accomplished since the program began, 2.56 million were for primary owner-occupied
residences and 368,000 were for investment properties. Ninety-seven thousand HARP
loans were written on second or vacation homes.
It appears that HARP loans are helping
keep those homeowners who refinance through them on track. Those who refinanced have experienced a
serious delinquency of 90 days or more since then at much lower rates than
those who appeared to be HARP eligible but did not refinance.