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Lending / The Ticker

Here's how HARP misses the mark

5 years later and steady rate declines

Dart board

When HARP first launched in 2009, it did not capture its target audience as fast as the government would have liked. However, as time started to pass and rates steadily dropped, more people began to jump on board. But there is just one problem: people are not allowed to refinance through the program more than once. Per The Washington Post:

Guy Cecala, chief executive of Inside Mortgage Finance, said one big limitation to HARP is that people are not allowed to refinance through it more than once.

“A lot of people had a 6 percent mortgage and refinanced when they could at 5 percent, and they could do it again and benefit near 4 percent,” Cecala said. “Those were taken out of the mix because you’re only allowed to use HARP once.”

Then add to that the fact that the people who are still eligible to refinance are either suspicious of the program or simply not interested.     

David Stevens, chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association describes it as the communication gap. “Either the borrowers don’t trust the information they’re getting from their lender or they don’t trust the process,” he said.

This news follows the FHFA’s recent push to capture the significant proportion left of eligible HARP refinances. To start, Watt, along with housing experts and community leaders, gathered in a town hall-style meeting at the Woodson Regional Library in Chicago on July 8 to discuss the benefits of HARP and encourage the approximately 36,000 Chicago residents still eligible to participate in the program.  

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