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Refinance Volume Down in Q2, HARP Still Strong

As mortgage rates climb, refinances are on the decline. However, refinances through the government's Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) remain elevated compared to last year's volumes, according to the ""Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) Refinance Report"":http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/25494/2Q2013Refinancereport.pdf for the second quarter of this year.

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Mortgage rates rose from 3.57 percent to 4.07 percent over the second quarter, while total refinances completed through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fell from about 1.4 million to about 1.3 million, according to the FHFA report.

HARP refinances made up about 22 percent of all refis completed during the second quarter, according to FHFA.

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HARP refinances totaled about 280,000 for the quarter, down from about 290,000 in the first quarter of this year.

""This marks the third straight quarter in which HARP refinances have declined, but refinances through the program remain well above average levels prior to program enhancements last year,"" FHFA stated.

Forty-three percent of HARP refinances in the second quarter were for underwater homeowners with loan-to-value ratios of more than 105 percent. Nineteen percent had LTVs greater than 125 percent.

Eighteen percent of HARP refinances in the second quarter were for 15- and 20-year mortgages.

Year-to-date, HARP refinances account for 21 percent of all refinances nationwide. However, HARP made up a greater share of refinances in some key states, including Nevada (59 percent), Florida (50 percent), Georgia (45 percent), and Michigan (40 percent).

Since the initiation of HARP in April 2009, about 2.7 million homeowners have refinanced through the program, according to FHFA.

Most HARP refinances have been for primary residents--about 2.3 million. Close to 88,000 have been for second homes, and about 307,000 have been for investment properties.

About Author: Krista Franks Brock

Krista Franks Brock is a professional writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing sectors since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.
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