Starting Dec 1st, many homeowners with “underwater” mortgages can apply for a new Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac refinance program geared for pretty much everyone who owes more on a home than it’s worth – including landlords and second-home owners.
The federal government’s previous foreclosure-prevention efforts, such as the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), lowered the interest rates on mortgages of homeowners at risk of foreclosure because they had lost income. But the new Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is seen as a possible game changer even for homeowners who are underwater but who have stayed employed and continue making their payments. Homeowners who have missed mortgage payments in the past six months need not apply. Not all details have been disclosed yet, but this is one of the first refinance programs that doesn’t require an appraisal to determine the value of the house.