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Lending

Low interest rates fuel February HARP refinancings: FHFA

A little more than 97,700 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages refinanced through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) in February, representing 21% of the total refinance volume, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said Tuesday.

Of the loans that refinanced through HARP in February, 22% had loan-to-value ratios greater than 125%.

Low interest rates remain a catalyst for higher refi volumes, with HARP refi activity elevated as long as mortgage rates continue to hover near record lows, the housing conservator said in its report. 

The figures for February bring the total number of GSE loan refinancings since the inception of HARP to 2.36 million, FHFA data shows.

When looking at year-to-date figures through February, borrowers with LTV ratios greater than 105% represented 45% of HARP loans, while 18% of refinances for underwater borrowers were for 15- and 20-year mortgages, suggesting homeowners are attempting to build equity faster.

In the hardest-hit states of Nevada, Arizona and Florida, underwater borrowers represented 65% or more of HARP volumes.

kpanchuk@housingwire.com

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