It’s looking like we may eventually see HARP 3.0. This past week, President Obama has issued a “To Do List” for Congress which includes taking steps to make it easier for more Americans to refinance. President Obama says the average homeowner will save $3000 a year by taking advantage of today’s historically low mortgage rates, which would not only help housing, it helps the economy.
Obama’s refi plan is not new – he’s been pushing this for a few months. If adopted, it would allow “responsible home owners” who do not qualify for HARP 2.0 and are underwater to refinance using an FHA loan. The low payments the White House is using for examples, do not seem to be factoring FHA’s mortgage insurance premiums, which would offset some savings. However, even with the mortgage insurance, many homeowners would benefit from the “Obama refi”.
President Obama is also promoting shorter term mortgages which helps home owners build equity quicker. I hope HUD is paying attention to this. Perhaps they’ll remove the “net tangible benefit” requirements which prevents home owners with FHA insured mortgages from doing an FHA streamline refi from a 30 year fixed FHA insured loan to a 15 year FHA loan – even if the homeowner qualifies for the higher payment! Currently, with an FHA streamlined refinance, the PIMI payment (principal, interest and mortgage insurance) must be lower by 5%. This is our government looking out for us. Again, I’m hoping this changes in light of recent comments by President Obama.
Senators Menendez and Boxer has introduced the “Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act of 2012” in support of President Obama’s To-Do List.
The proposed bill would make the Home Affordable Refinance Program more accessible to underwater home owners by increasing competition. Currently it can be challenging for home owners to find lenders who are willing to go beyond the 105% limits as banks have limited what they’ll allow lenders to do. Mortgage Master Service Corporation recently added lenders who allow us to provide Washington home owners HARP 2.0 refinances without loan to value restrictions.
On Monday, NAMB shared information (via Rob Chrisman) that the proposals would “extend the HARP eligibility date to May 31st 2010. (The bill mentions that May 31st 2010 was chosen because most of the loans originated after this date already have a mortgage rate below 5%.)”. This would greatly help home owners who just missed the cut-off date of May 31, 2009. With any luck, HARP 3.0 will be based on the closing date of the mortgage instead of when Fannie or Freddie securitized the loan!
If you would like a detailed mortgage rate quote for your home located anywhere in Washington state, please contact me. Remember, HARP is available for your primary residence, second home, vacation property and investment homes as long as they were securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to June 1, 2009.
If you currently qualify for HARP 2.0, I don’t recommend waiting for HARP 3.0. It may not happen and bank overlays seems to change almost daily on what loan to values they’re willing to go to.