Saturday, August 17, 2013

HARP has been a boon for borrowers

Although some of the early federal mortgage-relief programs struggled to gain traction, one effort continues to help Arizona homeowners lower their mortgage interest rates and monthly payments.

Approximately 40 percent of all refinancings in Arizona during the first four months of this year were done through the Housing Affordable Refinance Program, known as HARP. And 63 percent of those HARP loans went to homeowners, mainly in metro Phoenix, who are still underwater on their mortgage.

In April, the most recent month tracked, 1,120 Arizona homeowners who owed more than 125 percent of what their house was worth were able to refinance to a lower interest rate through the federal program.

Arizona, Nevada and Florida are the top three states for HARP refinancing. And it makes sense: The three states led the nation in home price run-ups during the boom and then in home-value declines and foreclosures during the crash.

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