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.

"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 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.