HARP Loans, Interest Rates & 2016-2017 HARP Refinance Program Guidelines

2015 HARP Guidelines and Rates

Urgent update: FHFA, the organization that oversees HARP, has extended the program until September 30, 2017. Underwater homeowners have additional time to qualify for this popular refinance option.

The Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, allows homeowners to refinance their underwater homes where it was previously impossible. If you are one of the many who qualifies for the new HARP program, MortgageRefinanceRates.org can help you quickly connect to a lender who can help you.

Click here to check today’s HARP rates.

HARP Advantages

  • Refinance your home even if you owe more than it’s worth (you’re “underwater”)
  • Many HARP refinances can be completed without an appraisal.
  • Roll most or all of the closing costs into the new loan.
  • No private mortgage insurance (PMI) required if you don’t have mortgage insurance now.
  • If you have PMI, you can transfer your existing PMI policy to the new HARP refinance loan.
  • You do not have to use your original lender to complete a HARP loan. 

HARP Refinance History, Eligibility Requirements, and Updates

The Making Home Affordable Program, which was a government mortgage assistance program created in early 2009, allows many homeowners refinance their mortgage into a lower payment. Because of overall declines in the economy and home values, homeowners were stuck paying more that they could afford on their homes.

One of the most beneficial aspects of the program was the Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP. This government-sponsored refi program opens doors to refinancing that were previously shut.

Click here for a free HARP rate quote.

HARP Loans are for homeowners with Freddie Mac- or Fannie Mae-backed mortgages and who have a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of more than 80% on their mortgage. Because mortgages with an LTV of over 80% are often unable to qualify for traditional refinancing options, the HARP program was necessary to allow as many people as possible to start saving money on their mortgage payments.

As borrowers needs have changed since the program was implemented, the HARP program has also undergone some changes to allow more flexibility for approval. Currently, the HARP program being offered is called HARP 2.0 and offers more flexible qualification requirements. Here is a breakdown of the history and development of the HARP refinance program:

HARP 1 (Original HARP Refinance)

  • Created April 2009
  • Must be backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae
  • Current mortgage must have been secured on or prior to May 31, 2009
  • FHA, USDA, and jumbo loans are not eligible

HARP 2.0 (Current Program)

  • Created March 2012
  • Must have 6 months of continuous, on-time mortgage payments
  • Current mortgage must have been secured on or prior to May 31, 2009
  • No maximum LTV for 30 year fixed-rate loans
  • 105% LTV for adjustable rate mortgages
  • Must have less than 20% equity in home (LTV cannot be less than 80%)
  • Only available for Freddie Mac- and Fannie Mae-backed mortgages
  • Only one HARP refinance allowed per mortgage. If you used HARP you cannot use HARP 2.

Click here for a HARP 2.0 rate quote.

HARP 3.0 #MYREFI (Proposed Program, Not yet Approved)

  • Currently being discussed by the government, not yet approved
  • If approved, would expand streamline refinance opportunities under the existing HARP program
  • Would include all other homeowners, including non-Freddie or -Fannie mortgages
  • Homeowners would still need to be current on their payments
  • Would include jumbo loans and other types of mortgages
  • Would still limit refinance opportunity to loans closed on or prior to May 31, 2009

HARP 3.0 is still a hypothetical scenario and all of the information provided is speculation. The details of the program are based on what is currently being discussed but it is unknown what the final program will offer or if it will even pass. The government has assumed that it would likely help over 30 million borrowers and save homeowners an average of $250 a month on their mortgage payments, which could add up to $35-70 billion in savings annually.

Check today’s low HARP rates here.

HARP in 2016-2017

The HARP program has been extended to September 30, 2017. Although there’s a lot of time left for the program, interest rates may not cooperate. If rates rise too much, the HARP program may become irrelevant, even though it’s still available.

Rates are steadily rising. Lock in your HARP rate now to avoid possible interest rate hikes.

*New* HARP 3.0-Like Program Starts October 1, 2017

A source inside FHFA has confirmed that a new HARP program will open up to homeowners starting October 1, 2017. The new program eliminates the requirement that the loan must have been opened on or before May 31, 2009.

Homeowners who purchased a home or refinanced after May 2009 will be eligible, so long as their loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. That means homeowners who bought or refinanced

Guidelines for the new program, according to FHFA sources, are as follows.

  • 95% loan-to-value (LTV) limit for Fannie Mae loan holders
  • 97% LTV for Freddie Mac loans
  • Loan originated after May 2009 will be eligible
  • No missed payments in previous six months
  • No more than one missed payment in previous 12 months
  • You can use the program more than once
  • HARP mortgage holders are not eligible
  • Homeowners who have had a HARP mortgage, but have since refinanced out of it, are eligible

This new program comes very close to the HARP 3.0 offering many  homeowners, housing groups, and government representatives have hoped for.

But, this program is still months away. You could be eligible for the current HARP program. As mortgage rates remain at historic lows, it is worth checking your eligibility to take advantage of savings before the new loan officially rolls out.

>>Check your eligibility for the current HARP program now<<

HARP Loan Rates

Whenever you are shopping for a mortgage or a refinance, it is in your best interests to meet with more than one lender to compare rates and lending requirements. Each lender has different requirements for HARP, so if you are denied a HARP refinance by one lender, complete our contact request form to speak to a different one.

Also, most lenders will negotiate rates and fees for HARP loans, so getting multiple quotes is a great idea.

Like all mortgage interest rates, HARP loan rates can change on a daily basis. At MortgageRefinanceRates.org, we connect you with the best lenders in today’s market, meaning the a great loan and rate for you.

Get a HARP rate quote.

This saves you time, money, effort, and helps you start saving immediately. When you work with MortgageRefinanceRates.org, you are working with a company that will never misuse your information or sell you services that you don’t need or that won’t help you. You will be contacted by up to four lenders, who have been screened and matched to help you save the most money right away.

Get started now by filling out a short online form here. Receive a free, no commitment quote and see how much you can save on your home loan with a HARP refinance. Click here to start saving.