The Federal Housing Finance Agency together with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced a change in the refinance program available for homeowners that are more than 125% LTV on their fixed rate mortgages.  The program is trying to reach homeowners that are current on their mortgage loans but are upside down on their loan to value of their homes.  Many of these homeowners have been unable to refinance their homes at the current lower interest rates that are available. 

Here is an excerpt from the announcement:

 The new program enhancements address several other key aspects of HARP including:

  • Eliminating certain risk-based fees for borrowers who refinance into shorter-term mortgages and lowering fees for other borrowers;
  • Removing the current 125 percent LTV ceiling for fixed-rate mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • Waiving certain representations and warranties that lenders commit to in making loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac;
  • Eliminating the need for a new property appraisal where there is a reliable AVM (automated valuation model) estimate provided by the Enterprises; and
  • Extending the end date for HARP until Dec. 31, 2013 for loans originally sold to the Enterprises on or before May 31, 2009.

Borrower Eligibility

  • The existing mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009. Homeowners can determine if they have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan by going to:http://www.FannieMae.com/loanlookup/ or calling 800-7FANNIE (8 am to 8 pm ET)https://ww3.FreddieMac.com/corporate/or 800-FREDDIE (8 am to 8 pm ET)
  • The program will continue to be available for loans with LTVs above 80 percent.
  • Borrowers must be current on their mortgage payments with no late payment in the past six months and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months.
  • Borrowers should contact their existing lender or any other mortgage lender offering HARP refinances.

For additional information please see the full news release at:  http://fhfa.gov/webfiles/22721/HARP_release_102411_Final.pdf

The details will be given to the lenders and servicers by mid November.  It will most likely be the beginning of the new year before the program amendments are available to the consumer.

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