HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) is a government program unlike most others. It provides refinancing assistance to responsible homeowners with a history of making their mortgage payments on time, who are underwater because of declining home values.
For millions of underwater homeowners, HARP is the only program available that will allow them to refinance at today’s low interest rates. The latest iteration of the program is proving more successful than its predecessors as the state’s largest mortgage lender - Arvest - says it's experiencing a 162% increase in HARP loans in the first quarter of 2012 compared a year ago.
“Many homeowners with jobs and good credit have found it difficult to refinance when the market value of their home is worth less than the mortgage itself. Thankfully, the latest version of HARP will accommodate many more homeowners than the previous version. We’ve seen a significant increase in HARP loans since the unveiling of HARP 2.0. Arvest is providing these loans to customers and non-customers alike,” said Todd White, Arvest Mortgage senior vice president.
HARP 2.0 opens the program to more homeowners by relaxing some of its criteria – most notably, allowing for an unlimited loan-to-value ratio on fixed-rate loans (previously, under HARP 1.0, only borrowers with ratios of 125% or less could refinance) and eliminating the appraisal requirement. The program is only available for mortgages that are owned or guaranteed by the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) before May 31, 2009.
The HARP program is available through Dec. 31, 2013.