HARP Refinancing Extended: Home Affordable Refinance Program
Seven years after the federal government first offered an option to help some homeowners refinance into more affordable mortgages, the program is being extended until September 2017.
The Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, already had been extended at least twice and was scheduled to end at the end of this year. But HARP will continue through September 2017, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said.
The program allows people who owe more than their home is worth, or who have little equity, to refinance into a loan at current low interest rates. (The average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage is around 3.5%. For much of 2008, it was about 6 percent.)
More than 3.4 million homeowners have refinanced their mortgages under the program since it began, according to the housing finance agency, which oversees the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. About 18,000 borrowers refinanced under HARP. in the second quarter of this year, down from nearly 20,000 in the first quarter. Still, more than 323,000 loans are estimated to remain eligible for refinancing under HARP.