FHA’s HAWK Program Delayed

Osprey_muralFHA’s HAWK (Homeowners Armed with Knowledge) program, which was designed to help home buyers receive reduced mortgage insurance premiums, has been delayed for at least one year as the program was excluded from the 2015 budget.

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What May Impact Mortgage Interest Rates this Week: October 7, 2013

mortgageporter-economyAs the government shut down continues, Congress has the debt ceiling the contend with by October 17, 2013, or our country will lose the ability to borrow. It almost seems “subprime” to me that our country has to continue to increase the amount of funds we borrow because our country went out to dinner and two glasses of wine (as President Obama explained it in a speech last week). Mortgage rates continue to be at lower levels. Once the government is back to work and the debt ceiling issue is resolved, in my opinion, we may see mortgage rates pop up.

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Bad News equals Lower Mortgage Rates

iStock-000012863442XSmallIf there can be one positive tidbit from the government shutdown, it just may be lower mortgage rates. And by the way, we are still originating and closing mortgages during the government shut down. USDA has been reduced to essential functions only and therefore, loans that have not yet been approved USDA may not be closing during this time. However, conventional, FHA and VA loans are available.  Not all lenders are able to operate during the shutdown because of not being able to obtain tax transcripts from the IRS, so please do confirm with your lender whether or not this is an issue for your mortgage scenario. Self employed borrowers may find it more challenging during these times.

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Getting a Mortgage during the Government Shutdown

iStock_000001750148XSmallHow much this government shut down impacts mortgage loans depends on several factors, including what stage your mortgage is in processing, what type of mortgage it is and who the investor is. It’s possible that it may not impact your transaction at all. The more time our government is shut down, it may become more difficult or require more time to process a mortgage loan. The shutdown in 1995 lasted for a very long 21 days – let’s hope our representatives can get this resolved soon!

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Can You Get an FHA Mortgage during the Government Shutdown?

The simple answer to that question is YES!  HUD drafted a 67 page contingency plan in the event of a government shutdown. The HUD 2013 Contingency Plan Draft 9/25/2013 states the Office of Single Family Housing will:

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Hope for HARP 3.0 and #MyRefi

2013-08-06_0653Today President Obama answered questions submitted by social media savvy Americans which was moderated by Zillow CEO, Spencer Rascoff. It seemed to me the most common questions were concerning HARP 3.0.  HARP 3.0 (Home Affordable Refinance Program) is currently a hypothetical expanded version of HARP 2.0 and would allow for more home owners, including those in Washington state, to refinance their homes at present low rates.

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Do you have a question for President Obama about housing?

Here’s your opportunity to ask President Obama your question related to housing, including mortgages. Are you wondering why we don’t have HARP 3.0 yet? Or perhaps why HUD does not allow an FHA streamline refi to a shorter term if it increases the payment (even if the borrowers qualify for the increased payment)? Maybe you’re wondering why would bank and credit union loan officers only be registered and held to the same standards as a licensed loan officer?

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President Obama and HARP 3.0 aka #MyRefi

HARP 3 0

With the re-election of President Obama, in my opinion, the odds of HARP 3.0 becoming a reality improved. HARP is an acronym for the Home Affordable Refinance Program. HARP was created to help home owners who would qualify to take advantage of today’s extremely low mortgage rates and refinance except their homes have lost equity. HARP is available for mortgages that were securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to June 1, 2009. We are currently on version “HARP 2.0” which was offered expanded guidelines from when HARP first rolled out. For more information about HARP 2.0, click here.

At the beginning of this year, HARP 2.0 was expanded in phases to make the program more available for employed and credit worthy home owners. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reduced the requirement for appraisals and made efforts to make the program more for banks and lenders to offer. However, many banks and lenders have not fully adopted HARP 2.0 guidelines as created by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Some will only offer HARP 2.0 home owners who currently have their mortgage serviced by that bank (where they make their mortgage to). And some lenders have limited what types of HARP 2.0 loans they will accept, for example, refusing to offer HARP 2.0 on loans that have existing private mortgage insurance or LPMI. Or by adding overlays to loans they will accept with limits to loan to value or not accept Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac appraisal waivers. Some wholesale lenders are offering HARP 2.0, however, the demand is so great for these borrowers that it’s not unusual for HARP 2.0 refi’s to take several months to close.  In fact a couple of the these wholesale lenders who were accepting HARP 2.0’s with higher loan to values or pmi have either stopped accepting applications until they can catch up with what they currently have in process.

President Obama and members of Congress have been pushing for a refinance program that would go beyond HARP 2.0. This program has been nick-named HARP 3.0 and has been assigned a hashtag of #MyRefi by the White House.

It is anticipated that HARP 3.0 will have many of the same features available with HARP 2.0 along with:

  • expanding or eliminating the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac securitization cut-off date of May 31, 2009;
  • open to mortgages that are not securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, including qualified borrowers who used jumbo, subprime or other alternative programs. 
  • allow borrowers who have refinanced under earlier versions of HARP to refinance again;
  • expand loan amounts to previous conforming high balance limits. Borrowers in the greater Seattle area with loan amounts at the previous conforming high balance limit of $567,500 may qualify for HARP 2.0, however, they often need to bring in cash to close with the current King County loan limit set at $506,000.

President Obama’s refi plan would probably look more like an FHA refinance and would be available to home owners who have lost equity in their home and have made their mortgage payments on time for the last six months. President Obama has been pushing for programs to become more available to home owners so they they can take advantage of today’s lower rates and help our economy.

When and if HARP 3.0 #MyRefi becomes available to Washington home owners, I will be sure to announce it here!  To stay informed, you can subscribe to my blog, follow me on Twitter or “like” me on Facebook.  For a mortgage rate quote or to start a loan application for a refi on your home located any where in Washington state, where I’m licensed, please click one of the links above.