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HARP Refinances Going Strong in the Sunshine State

By: Lisa Burden | September 28th, 2012

The Home Affordable Refinance Program continues to account for a substantial portion of total refinance volume in many states. In July 2012, HARP refinances for Florida represented 60 percent of total refinances, compared to 27 percent of total refinances nationwide. Indeed, HARP refinances for the Sunshine State were among the highest with only a few states reporting higher numbers.

On a nationwide basis, lenders refinanced 423,000 mortgages through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under the HARP program in the first six months of 2012 — more than all of last year — according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Increased affordability from historically low mortgage rates and lower housing prices has spurred more demand in the mid- to higher-end markets this year in Florida, according to DataQuick. In the lower price ranges, demand among first-time buyers, investors and vacation-home buyers has been robust, and it has reportedly depleted the supply of homes on the market to the point where it’s limited the sales volume – that is, if there were more homes on the market, then sales would be higher. Why aren’t more homes hitting the market to meet the higher demand? Many who would like to sell can’t because they owe more than their homes are worth, according to DataQuick.

HARP was launched in 2009 to help homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages refinance their home loans. The program has been tweaked several times since its inception as a result of criticism from both lenders and borrowers. In an earlier version of HARP, there was a 125 percent loan-to-value ceiling. That ceiling, which was proving to be a detriment to homeowners who wanted to refinance under the program, was eliminated this summer.

To qualify, a mortgage must be owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and it must have closed before June 1, 2009. An appraisal is not required under the program. In addition, you are not eligible if you missed any mortgage payments by more than 30 days in the last six months; however, after you make enough payments on time, you can become eligible.

FreeRateUpdate.com surveys more than two dozen wholesale and direct lenders’ rate sheets to determine the most accurate mortgage rates available to well qualified consumers at a standard 0.7 to 1% origination fee.


Latest HARP Mortgage News March 31st, 2014