FHFA: Refinances Increased Slightly In June, Propelled By Lower Interest Rates

Due primarily to falling mortgage interest rates, the total volume of mortgage refinances increased slightly in June, compared to May, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) Second Quarter 2014 Refinance Report.

However, the number of refinances dropped on a quarter-over-quarter basis: According to the report, there were 344,513 refinances completed in the second quarter, compared to 370,851 completed in the first quarter.

It should be noted, however, that it was a particularly harsh winter, which may have dissuaded some homeowners from refinancing during the first quarter.

Of the 344,513 refinances completed in the second quarter, 54,041 were completed through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). As such, HARP refinances represented about 16% of total refinance volume in the second quarter, according to the FHFA.

The report shows that HARP volume continued to fall in the second quarter: In the first quarter, about 77,000 refinances were processed through the program.

Since 2009, more than 19.5 million mortgage refinances have been completed through government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, including more than 3.1 million through HARP, FHFA reports.

More than 25% of all HARP refinances in June were for underwater borrowers, defined as those with a loan-to-value ratio greater than 105%.

HARP volume was particularly strong in Georgia and Florida in June, where it represented 37% and 35%, respectively, of total refinances.

The agency estimates that as of the end of the second quarter, there were roughly 810,069 borrowers who were still eligible to refinance through HARP. On average, these borrowers could save almost $2,300 per year on their mortgage payments, the FHFA says.

In an effort to help more homeowners and boost HARP participation rates, the FHFA recently held town-hall style events in Chicago and Atlanta with local community and civic leaders to help educate the public about HARP.

The agency is planning future HARP outreach events for Detroit and Miami.

To check out the full report, click here.


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