The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) was created by the federal government in April of 2009 to allow eligible homeowners with little home equity, no home equity or even negative home equity to refinance to lower mortgage rates. The program is set to expire on December 31, 2015.
The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) was created by the federal government in April of 2009 to allow eligible homeowners with little home equity, no home equity or even negative home equity to refinance their mortgage in order to lower their mortgage rates. The program is set to expire at the end of 2016.
Between 2008 and 2009, the Great Recession caused a large percentage of properties in the US to lose equity – and by 2011, analysts estimated that about 50 percent of mortgages had balances that exceeded the value of the financed homes. At the same time, the poor economy caused mortgage rates to fall to historical lows. A sizable number of homeowners could have saved hundreds each month by refinancing to these new low rates. However, they couldn't qualify for loans because they had insufficient home equity.
Through government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, US taxpayers were on the hook for a sizable percentage of "underwater" mortgages, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency determined that it could lower the risk of default on these loans by allowing borrowers to refinance to more affordable interest rates.
Eligible homeowners can refinance through HARP regardless of how much their mortgage balance exceeds their property's value, without adding mortgage insurance coverage.
In order to be eligible for the HARP refinance program, the mortgage being refinanced must:
- Be backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (borrowers can click these links to look up their eligibility)
- Have a note date of no later than May 31, 2009
- Have a balance equaling at least 80 percent of the value of the property
HARP is expected to expire at the end of 2016. You can fill out our form now to see if you qualify and get HARP offers.