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Refinance Volume Drops as Mortgage Rates Rise

Refinances fell in February as mortgage rates rose, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) February 2017 Refinance report. The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage in February 2017 was 4.17 percent, up from January 2017’s 4.15 percent.

According to the report, borrowers completed 4,198 refinances through HARP, and since HARP’s inception in 2009, the program has made 3,456,422 refinances. HARP represented three percent of total refinance volume, and six percent of loans refinanced through HARP had a loan-to-value ratio greater than 125 percent.

The FHFA’s report found that borrowers who had a loan-to loan value ratio of greater than 105 percent accounted for 18 percent of the HARP loan volume. Additionally, borrowers who refinanced through HARP were had a lower delinquency rate than those who were eligible for the program, but did not refinance through it.

Over 60 percent of the 194,324 eligible loans HARP eligible loans came from just ten states, the FHFA reports. As of September 2016, Florida was the top state for HARP refinances, with 22,856 HARP eligible loans. Following Florida was Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania, New York, and California.

In Nevada and Florida, HARP refinances represented 6 percent or more of all refinances. In most states, including Nevada and Florida, underwater borrowers accounted for the largest portion of HARP refinances. In these two states, underwater borrowers accounted for 30 percent or more for HARP volume.

Streamlined refinances from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac totaled 12, 876 in February 2017. California saw the most refinances for both GSEs, including HARP refinances, at 16,812 for Fannie and 12,143 from Freddie.

About Author: Seth Welborn


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