The Federal Housing Finance Agency said Friday more than 519,000 mortgage loans have been refinanced through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under the Home Affordable Refinance Program since the beginning of this year.
The continued high volume of HARP loans is attributed to record-low mortgage rates and program enhancements announced last year, including removal of the loan-to-value ceiling for borrowers who refinance into fixed-rate loans, and the elimination or lowering of fees for certain borrowers, FHFA said.
The information was included in the release of FHFA’s July Refinance Report.
“When we announced additional program changes to HARP last fall, we were cautiously optimistic that the changes would double or more the number of HARP refinances,” said Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco. “With more than half-a-million homeowners taking advantage of the program in the first seven months of this year Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are on track to meet or surpass our original estimates.”
The number of loans refinanced through HARP during the first seven months of 2012 eclipses the total number of HARP refinances last year, which was 400,024, the agency said.
Borrowers in June and July 2012 with LTV ratios greater than 105% accounted for more than half the volume of HARP loans. Lenders began to sell Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities containing these loans with LTV ratios greater than 125% as of June 1.
During the month of July, HARP refinances represented nearly 60% or more of total refinances in Nevada, Arizona and Florida, compared with 27% of total refinances nationwide. Underwater borrowers in the three states with LTV ratios greater than 105% represented more than 70% of HARP volume in July.