More Borrowers May Be Eligible for Home Refinance via HARP Extension
April 18th, 2013
April 18th, 2013
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced last week that the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) has been extended for another two years. Homeowners now have up to December 31, 2015 to take advantage of the program’s benefits.
In 2012, over 1 million borrowers with high loan-to-value (LTV) ratio loans received refinancing from lenders via HARP. According to an article in National Mortgage News, MBS strategists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch say about 1.5 million more borrowers may be eligible for refinancing through HARP in 2013 and 2014.
Initiated in 2009, HARP is a government program designed to help borrowers who are underwater on their homes and owe more than their home are worth. The program enables qualified borrowers to refinance their mortgages at today’s lower interest rates and potentially reduce their monthly mortgage payments. Potential savings may average about $200 a month or about $2,400 a year according to experts.
To be eligible, your mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, and must have been sold to those agencies on or before May 31, 2009. The current LTV on the mortgage should be greater than 80% of the home’s value. You cannot have missed any mortgage payments in the past six months and cannot have had more than one missed payment in the past 12 months. Plus, if you’ve had a previous refinance under the program, you are disqualified from getting another.
The strategists predict that another 400,000 borrowers may be eligible for HARP as they improve their credit standing.
To take advantage of this program, you need to determine if your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and you meet the eligibility requirements. If so, you should contact your existing lender or another mortgage lender offering HARP refinances.
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