The Federal Housing Finance Agency, along with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, on Monday announced changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) to help more borrowers.
The program will continue to be available to borrowers with loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009, with current loan-to-value (LTV) ratios above 80 percent.
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.
Fannie and Freddie plan to issue guidance with operational details about the HARP changes to mortgage lenders and servicers by Nov. 15. Since industry participation in HARP is not mandatory, implementation schedules will vary as individual lenders, mortgage insurers and other market participants modify their processes.
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