HARP refinances surge in first quarter
More than 180,000 homeowners refinanced their loans through the home Affordable Refinance Program in the first quarter of this year compared with approximately 93,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) March 2012 Refinance Report.
FHFA officials attribute the increase to the 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. Only loans that are owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are eligible to participate in HARP.
Also in the report:
- Refinance volume surged in the first quarter of 2012 in response to historically low mortgage interest rates.
- One in seven refinanced loans during the quarter was through HARP.
- The number of loans refinanced through HARP in the first quarter of 2012 nearly doubled compared with 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 percent LTV.
- In March, there were nearly 80,000 HARP refinances, a quarter of them on loans with LTVs greater than 105 percent.
- More than 4,400 loans with LTVs greater than 125 percent were refinanced since the beginning of the year; over half these loans were refinanced in the states of California, Florida, and Arizona.
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