Washington Report: Home Affordable Refinance Program

The Obama administration’s latest expansion of its “home affordable” refinance program, outlined just before the July 4 holiday, could be huge news for tens of thousands of owners whose houses are seriously “underwater,” or where they’re worth a lot less than the mortgage balance owed on them.

Under the new rules, even where borrowers have negative equities of as much as 25 percent, they may be able to refinance into better loan terms, provided their mortgage is owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Under the original rules for the program, the cutoff point was just five percent negative equity — or a “loan to value” (LTV) ratio of 105 percent.

Though an estimated 80,000 owners already have been refinanced by Fannie and Freddie, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner decided that the 105% LTV limit left too many borrowers out of reach.

In some parts of California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida, 40 to 50 percent of home owners are now stuck with negative equities, according to industry estimates. In Las Vegas, 67 percent of owners are underwater.

Read more…

To take advantage, contact your loan servicer to see if your mortgage is owned by Freddie or Fannie. Or you can check online at either http://loanlookup.fanniemae.com/loanlookup/, or http://www.freddiemac.com/mymortgage.

Original article written by Kenneth R. Harney

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