that they may have reached only about half of the families who could benefit
from the program, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) launched a campaign
today to inform homeowners about the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). The campaign is aimed at those with higher
than prevailing interest rates who are current on their mortgages but have too
little equity in their homes to refinance through traditional programs.
along with the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Freddie Mac and Fannie
Mae, are working with mortgage companies throughout the country to get the word
out about the benefits of HARP and FHFA has launched a new website, www.HARP.gov.
It has also enlisted Mike Aubrey, star of HGTV's Power Broker to do a series of public service ads about HARP. These will air in nine cities that suffered exceptionally
large price declines in the housing bust and thus where homeowners are most
likely to have little or no equity.
called HARP "an absolute no brainer for eligible homeowners." The program, he said, allows underwater
homeowners the option to refinance at a lower rate, "and in my book that is
I spend my time
on TV and as a realtor trying to get great
deals for my clients. FHFA has already
done the legwork
to create an amazing
deal. It's as
simple as finding out
if you qualify, getting the refinance done and
watching the savings add
FHFA Director Edward J. DeMarco said that 2.8 million homeowners have
refinanced through HARP but with mortgage rates still historically low and HARP
eligibility requirements expanded, other qualified homeowners could reduce
their monthly mortgage payments or build their equity faster with a shorter
term mortgage through the program.
told Bloomberg News in an interview this
weekend that FHFA used focus groups to find out why borrowers with high rates
hadn't yet tried to refinance through HARP.
They found many didn't realize they were eligible. They thought they had to be delinquent on
their mortgages before the government would help them. DeMarco said he hoped the educational
outreach would bring in an additional 2 million HARP borrowers.
To be eligible
for a HARP refinance, homeowners must meet the
The loan must be
owned or guaranteed by Fannie
Mae or Freddie Mac.
must have been sold
to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
before May 31, 2009.
The current loan-to-value (LTV)
ratio must be greater
than 80 percent.
The borrower must
be current on their mortgage
payments with no
late payments in the last six
months and no
more than one late payment
in the last 12 months.
To find out
a mortgage is owned or
guaranteed by Fannie Mae or
Freddie Mac, borrowers can confirm their mortgage by visiting http://knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup or