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HARP 2.0 Is One Solution for Under Water Homeowners in Hawaii

By: Morris Newman | September 28th, 2012

The good news about Hawaii is that the islands have a low number of underwater homeowners, or owners who owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth. The number of underwater homes in Honolulu is around 5%, roughly on a par with other “low-watermark” places like Bismarck, ND and State College, PA.

Even with those low numbers, however, many Hawaii residents may be finding themselves unable to refinance to current low rates, because lenders will rarely refinance a mortgage with a principal balance higher than the market value of the home. Underwater borrowers are especially worrisome to public officials and economists because this group of home owners is at greatest risk of losing their homes.

For those under water homeowners who have managed to make payments throughout the Great Recession, the federal government has created a new type of home loan known as HARP 2.0. The outstanding feature of HARP 2.0 is that owners are able to refinance for more than 100% of the home value. Many borrowers, in fact, borrow more than 125%. In a sense, officials at the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which created HARP 2.0, see the government backed loan as a reward to homeowners for continuing to make payments, rather than walking away from the home. To qualify, home owners need to be current on their home payments and they must be paying on a mortgage owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The two “super agencies” buy the majority of home loans in America.

Making HARP 2.0 potentially more attractive to people seeking to refinance, borrowers can take advantage of current low interest rates, which appear to be heading to record lows. Some lenders will add some extra fees to HARP loans, so it’s a good idea to talk to several lenders. In addition, different lenders have different guidelines, so if you are turned down by one lender, you should try again at another. In Hawaii, fish and snorkelers should be underwater—not real estate.

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 0.7-1.0% point origination fee.


Latest HARP Mortgage News April 20th, 2014

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    By: Vanessa Rodriguez | January 21st, 2011

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