Thursday, April 11, 2013

HARP



"Borrowers with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae (FNMA) or Freddie Mac (FMCC) will have until the end of 2015 to obtain new loans under the Home Affordable Refinance Program, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said today.

HARP previously was scheduled to expire at the end of 2013. The program allows borrowers to cut their loan payments by refinancing at lower interest rates even if they are stuck in homes that have lost value.
More than 2.2 million borrowers have used the program so far. To qualify, homeowners must be current on their payments and have loans originated before June 1, 2009.

HARP is “a useful tool for reducing risk,” FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco said in a statement. “We are extending the program so more underwater borrowers can benefit from lower interest rates.”

Wearing off

"According to real estate data-supplier RealtyTrac, U.S. foreclosure starts increased 2 percent from February to March, the second straight monthly increase following three consecutive monthly decreases.

Florida, Nevada and Illinois posted the highest foreclosure rates for the first quarter, according to RealtyTrac's March and first quarter U.S. Foreclosure Market Report. Florida had the most foreclosures of any state—one in every 104 housing units, or nearly three times the national average.

Florida cities accounted for 7 of the 10 highest metro foreclosure rates, with Miami leading every other metro area in the country for the first quarter. Other cities in the top 10 included Las Vegas at number four, with one in every 99 housing units filing.
 
The U.S. overall reported 152,500 foreclosures in March, a decrease of 1 percent from February and a decrease of 23 percent from a year before. The March decrease helped lower the total for first quarter U.S. foreclosures—including default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions—to their lowest level since the second quarter of 2007.

Although the overall national trend continues to head downward, RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist says "late-blooming foreclosures are bolting higher" in some local markets where aggressive foreclosure-prevention efforts in previous years are wearing off."