The quarterly number of loans refinanced through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) has nearly doubled since HARP 2.0 was rolled out in January, according to new data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).
The FHFA reports that HARP refinances topped 180,000 in the first quarter of this year, compared to approximately 93,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011. The FHFA attributes the increased HARP volume to enhancements to the program that were 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.
The FHFA also found that refinance volume surged in the first quarter of this year, due to historically low mortgage interest rates. One in seven refinanced loans during the first quarter was through HARP, while the number of loans refinanced through HARP in the first quarter nearly doubled compared to the number of loans refinanced through HARP in the fourth quarter of 2011, driven by a sharp increase in the number of loans refinanced above 105% LTV.
More than 4,400 loans with LTVs greater than 125% were refinanced since the beginning of the year, according to the FHFA, with over half of these loans refinanced in California, Florida and Arizona.