One of every three refinances through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were made through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) during the first half of this year, according to new data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). This is the highest number of HARP refinances since the inception of the program in April 2009.
The FHFA attributes the continued increase in HARP volume to record-low mortgage rates and program enhancements announced last fall, including removal of the loan-to-value (LTV) ceiling for borrowers who refinance into fixed-rate loans and the elimination or lowering of fees for certain borrowers.
During the first half of the year, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac refinanced 422,969 loans through HARP. This is more than all of the HARP refinances – 400,024 – last year. More than two-thirds of borrowers in states hard-hit by the housing downturn – Nevada, Arizona and Florida – refinanced through HARP in June, compared with 33% nationwide. In Nevada, Arizona and Florida, underwater borrowers (those with an LTV greater than 105%) represented more than 80% of HARP volume in June.
Since 2009, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac refinanced more than 2.2 million loans through their existing programs and more than 1.4 million loans through HARP.