After announcing earlier this month that it had extended the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) through 2016, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced this week that it is planning its sixth HARP outreach event on June 12 in Phoenix.
The agency reports that the number of mortgage refinances completed through HARP has now surpassed 3.3 million. FHFA's first quarter Refinance Report shows that more than 31,000 HARP refinances were completed through March, bringing the total to 3,302,102 since inception of the program in 2009.
During the upcoming outreach event to be held at the Arizona Capitol Museum Housing, FHFA policy experts and community leaders will join for a town hall-style meeting that is designed to raise awareness about the program. The FHFA says there are more than 10,000 Phoenix area residents (more than 18,000 in Arizona statewide) who are still eligible for the program.
‘There are more than 10,000 homeowners in the Phoenix area, and even more statewide who could save, on average, more than $2,400 per year by refinancing through HARP,’ says Mel Watt, director of the FHFA, in a statement.Â ‘Our goal is to join forces with community leaders and other trusted sources so that borrowers who are current on their mortgage, but have little equity in their homes, know they have refinancing options and can still join the 3.3 million Americans who have saved money by refinancing through HARP.’
The FHFA estimates that as of December 2014, more than 600,000 borrowers nationwide would benefit financially by refinancing through HARP. These so-called ‘in-the-money’ borrowers are eligible if they meet the basic HARP eligibility requirements.Â
Borrowers typically will get a financial benefit from HARP if they meet these criteria and have a remaining mortgage balance of $50,000 or more, a remaining term of greater than 10 years, and an interest rate at least 1.5 percent higher than current market rates.
Nationwide, these borrowers could save, on average, $200 or more per month on their mortgage payments, or $2,400 per year.
The outreach events are part of the FHFA's ongoing campaign to boost HARP participation rates, which have fallen short of expectations.
The FHFA announced last summer that it was extending the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) through 2016 as well.
In a speech he made on May 8 at the at Greenlining Institute 22nd Annual Economic Summit, Watt explained that ‘HAMP and HARP were never intended to be permanent programs’ and that this would be ‘the final extension that FHFA will make for the enterprises' participation in HAMP and we anticipate that this will also be the final extension for HARP.’Â
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