The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that it will extend the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) until December 31, 2015. HARP has helped more than two million homeowners seek relief with an estimated ten million home owners still underwater.

HARP was designed to help mortgage borrowers who are current on their mortgages but whose home value was less than what their current mortgage amount is, also known as being “underwater.”

Edward J. DeMarco, Acting Director of the FHFA, stated that the HARP program is being extended “so more underwater borrowers can benefit from lower interest rates.”

HARP was introduced in April of 2009 and has helped approximately 2.2 million borrowers refinance their homes.

In order to qualify for HARP:

1) You must be current in your mortgage payments with no late payments in the previous six months and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months;

2) The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80 percent;

3) Your mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac;

4) Your mortgage must have been sold to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae on or before May 31, 2009.

Additional rules apply and lenders may also have additional loan criteria.

According to the latest Refinance Report released by the FHFA, there were nearly 470,000 refinances in January, with approximately 97,600 completed through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).

Forty-seven percent of the HARP loans refinanced in January had a loan-to-value ratio greater than 105 percent while 25 percent of the HARP loans refinanced had a loan-to-value-ratio of over 125 percent.

Tags: FHFA, HARP, HARP loans, loan modification, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

To learn more about the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), click here.

Reported by Shirley Allen