HARP 2.0 : The Top 10 Home Affordable Refinance Program States
The Home Affordable Refinance Program was re-launched as HARP 2.0 on October 24, 2011. The program became available via "automated underwriting" in March 2012 and, 12 months later, the government's refinance program has helped more than 1 million U.S. homeowners.
HARP 2.0 revised the original Home Affordable Refinance Program to allow for unlimited loan-to-value (LTV), among other changes. No appraisals are needed with HARP 2.0.
Not surprisingly, demand for the program has been high -- and lopsided.
HARP 2 : Refinance With Unlimited LTV
The Home Affordable Refinance Program didn't always allow for unlimited LTV. When it was first launched in 2009 as part of the government's Making Home Affordable push, HARP capped homeowners at 125 percent loan-to-value nationwide, while imposing other restrictions, too.
For example, homeowners paying monthly private mortgage insurance (PMI) were often precluded from using HARP, as were homeowners whose then-current servicer refused to originate new home loans.
In fact, these restrictions were part of the reason why HARP was re-formulated to begin with -- the program had been used less than one million times in its first two-and-a-half years, falling well short of expectation.
The government had planned for 7 million uses.
With HARP 2.0, then, the government took a restart. It did away with appraisals (in most cases) and gave underwater homeowners the ability to work with any HARP-participating lender. Furthermore, it helped to simplify the refinance process for loans with existing PMI -- both borrower-paid and lender-paid.
HARP 2 has been a hit.
5 States : 50% Of All HARP 2 Queries
Since the launch of HARP 2, this website has logged close to 50,000 requests for HARP mortgage rates.
Fittingly, those queries have been concentrated in states hardest-hit by last decade's housing market turndown; states in which homeowners routinely exceeded the 125% LTV cap of the original HARP refinance.
Half of all HARP 2 queries have come from just five states in the union :
- California : 18.3% of all mortgage rate requests
- Florida : 14.5% of all mortgage rate requests
- Georgia : 6.2% of all mortgage rate requests
- Arizona : 6.0% of all mortgage rate requests
- Illinois : 4.7% of all mortgage rates requests
The remaining 45 states plus the District of Columbia account for the remaining 50 percent of HARP 2 queries. The three states with the fewest Home Affordable Refinance Program mortgage rate requests are Vermont, North Dakota and South Dakota.
HARP Mortgage Rates Available Online
As the HARP program has expanded, U.S. mortgage rates have dropped. HARP refinances are available for the same sub-4 percent rates as for every other conforming-type loan. However, the HARP program won't last forever. The underwater mortgage program is slated to expire December 31, 2015.
The HARP program may get revamped later this year as part of HARP 3, or may evolve into something different. For example, there's talk in Congress of several programs including the so-called "Merkley Mortgage" which is rolling out now in Oregon for residents of Multnomah County, an area which includes Portland.
There is also the Boxer-Menendez Bill, which is not quite HARP 3.0. The Boxer-Menendez Bill aims to remove refinance hurdles for today's underwater homeowners including most closing costs.
See what today's HARP refinance can do for you. Check today's mortgage rates online. It's fast and free.