FHFA Extends Home Refinance, Modification Programs Through 2016

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has extended the deadline for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) for an additional year.

“Extending HAMP and HARP through the end of 2016 will provide real relief for borrowers who continue to face challenges either paying their mortgage or refinancing their loan,” FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt said in an announcement made May 8 at the Greenlining Institute’s 22nd Annual Economic Summit in Los Angeles, Calif.

However, this will be the final extension that FHFA will make for HAMP and it anticipates this will also be the final extension for HARP.

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The two programs, previously scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2015, were first launched in 2009 to provide relief to borrowers by allowing them to lower their monthly payments and, as a result, have prevented many foreclosures, Watt said.

Between now and the end of 2016, FHFA will use this time to consider how best to build on the lessons of HAMP for 2017 and beyond.

“In the meantime, we have determined that it is appropriate to maintain the Enterprises’ streamlined modification program as part of their loss mitigation toolkit,” Watt said. “Because streamlined modifications require less paperwork and are easier for borrowers to use, they have proven to be an important foreclosure prevention tool since they were first offered in March 2013.”

For HARP, the FHFA is also going to use the time to explore possible streamlined refinance solutions for future Enterprise loans.

“This evaluation will consider the lessons learned from the HARP program and how those might apply in a non-crisis environment,” Watt said. “In the meantime, we want to encourage the 600,000-plus borrowers nationwide who would still benefit from the HARP program to take advantage of HARP while they still have the opportunity to do so and while interest rates remain low.”

Written by Emily Study

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