Here is a list of important dates in the coming month to keep an eye on as they pertain to HARP 3.0:
January 6: Mel Watt is scheduled to be sworn in as Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
January 7: Congress reconvenes
January 28: President Obama’s State of the Union Address. The president has emphasized the plight of underwater homeowners in the last two State of the Union Addresses. It is very likely a push for HARP 3.0 will be made this year as well.
Ed DeMarco is out as Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Mel Watt is in. Finally, after 4 years under Acting Director Ed DeMarco, a permanent director is in place to lead the agency that regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Senate Democrats took advantage of revised rules that virtually eliminates filibustering of nominations to push the Watt nomination thru by a vote of 57-41. As head of the FHFA Mel Watt will have significant power to alter the Home Affordable Refinance Program. It is unclear exactly how long the transition of leadership will take. The expectations are that Mel Watt will move quickly once he assumes leadership. Ed DeMarco repeatedly refused to comply with President Obama’s requests to ease the burdens on Underwater Homeowners. Mel Watt was hand picked by the President to do what DeMarco wouldn’t. The light is now on at the end of this tunnel we have been referring to as HARP 3.0.
Cries for HARP 3.0 is a regular feature that focuses on families struggling with bloated mortgage payments that could be alleviated if HARP 3.0 ever comes to fruition. This week we profile two stories from underwater homeowners in North Carolina
In 2004 we purchased our home in Northern California, nearly at the peak of the market, one month before the birth of our second child. My husband (a teacher) and I (a nurse) searched far and wide to find a home that fit the criteria we hoped for: a house that was in the best neighborhood we could afford, had excellent schools and most importantly, offered a sense of community with neighbors who actually spoke to each other and looked out for one another. We found this in a modest 2 bed/2 bath 1100 sq ft house that needed work and priced at an astronomical (for us) $429,000. It was at the highest end of our price range but we knew we had found our home. We spent all the free time we had (a challenge with two very small children) cleaning up years of neglect and making this house our home. Since then we have become integral members of our community. Our neighbors have become family to us and our children. We contribute to our community in our respective positions. Because of the relatively small size our city, we have limited options for employment and have each retained our positions throughout our time in this home, committed to making a difference in this community. Since 2008 our home has lost nearly 25% in value. We have never missed or been late with a payment. We did not qualify for any of the government’s Making Homes Affordable programs because our mortgage in not a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Our loan is held by Wells Fargo, a company who is unwilling to work with us because it is a “mortgage backed security,” and does not qualify for any program.
Our family is very hopeful for HARP 3.0 to pass. I imagine there are many other hard working Americans who have not been able to take advantage of the current government mortgage refinancing programs. The small savings we could receive from being able to refinance mean a great deal to the well being of our family.
We purchased our home in Jan 2007 in order to move closer to our daughter and grandkids and this was just after we had lost our oldest Daughter. I went through a mortgage broker here in North Carolina and somehow we ended up with an 8.90% loan which I was the blame as I just wasn’t thinking straight and let someone take advantage of our situation. I tried 3 years ago to refinance and my loan balance was $91,000 and it was a real shock when my appraisal came in at $81,700. I’m 75 years old not in good health and still working in order to make a $850.00 a month house payment. I have followed Harp 3 for the past two years and prayed it would go through and was told it should have passed in Sept and now possibly Dec or Jan, but it seems just like a lot of talk. Our loan is a conventional loan so there is nowhere to turn. The system does not seem to work for someone that has worked all their life and pays their bills. Without Harp 3 we will lose our home next year.