The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) are now valid until the end of next year. During the past five years, these programs have helped homeowners with troubled properties to hang onto them until the crisis is over and the housing market has recovered. Other than HARP and HAMP, there are many programs which fall into the category of Making Homes Affordable, but these two are the most popular ones.
After the announcement of the program extension was made, the US Treasury Secretary told the press that the government had to be there for homeowners who were at a risk of foreclosure, dealing with increased mortgage rates or had their homes under water.
Up till now, the HAMP program has helped over a million homeowners and given them payment. An additional 5 million have been helped by a slightly modified program, based on the HAMP. As for the HARP, around 3 million homeowners have refinanced through it. Though the government claims there are many people who meet the eligibility criteria for HARP, people are refinancing in lesser numbers now despite another fall in mortgage rates. Many industry experts are of the opinion that this may also be because the refinancing course is pretty much over now.
In light of this, the president of a reputed real estate website said that homeowners who can use refinancing to an advantage already have lower rates on their mortgages. For those with higher rates, their credit scores are still not impressive enough, and despite refinancing, the offered rate will probably not be that low. The president added that homeowners may also not have enough funds for a refinance.
The HARP and HAMP programs have been quite a success. Still according to the US Treasury Secretary, a lot more can still be done to strengthen the real estate market and help both the buyers and current homeowners.
The US Secretary said that people belonging to the middle class still find homeownership expensive. Over 6 million people owe more than the worth of their homes. To all these people, he advised that if they play by the rules and act responsibly, they will not lose their homes.
When asked more about these efforts, the US Treasury Secretary said that they included greater capital, re-structuring of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mae and more options for creditworthy buyers who had been rejected by lenders.