November HARP refinances hit highest mark since March
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac altered about 36,000 mortgages thorough the Home Affordable Refinance Program in November, up from 34,000 in October. November marked the fourth straight monthly increase of HARP refinances and the highest since total since March, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. HARP refis in November declined from the year-over-year total of about 44,000. Underwater borrowers saw significantly more relief than a year earlier. HARP refinances on mortgages with loan-to-value ratios between 105% to 125% rose to 5,100 from 2,700 in November 2010. The numbers do not reflect Dec. 1 changes in HARP. The FHFA said earlier this month the effects could surface in February. HARP 2.0 allows borrowers with an LTV ratio of at least 80% to refinance under the program. It previously held an upper limit of a 125%. Under the changes, there is no longer a ceiling on the ratio. The government-sponsored enterprises have refinanced 998,500 loans through HARP since it launched March 2009. Total refinances by Fannie and Freddie increased to 358,000 from 295,000 in October and declined from 451,00 a year earlier. Mortgage modifications completed by the two mortgage giants declined to 23,000 from 25,000 a month earlier and from 39,000 in November 2010. The 2011 year-to-date total of 298,000 falls significantly short of 575,000 for all of 2010. Loan modifications do not include principal reduction, which the FHFA said Monday would likely cost Fannie and Freddie $100 billion. The delinquency rate for mortgages at least 60 days past due held steady at 4.5% from October, according to the GSEs. Write to Andrew Scoggin. Follow him on Twitter @AScoggin.