I’m not sure why I didn’t do this sooner. I’ve pulled all the active Congressional Bills related to HARP 3.0 and put them on a page specifically to track their progress. The link to the page is HARP 3.0 Bill Tracker. I also added a tab to the top menu so that the HARP 3.0 Bill Tracker Page can easily be found.
98% of the posts thus far on makeharp3happen.com have been aimed at efforts to support expanding the HARP program. This post is going to be a little different. There are millions of people that stand to gain if HARP 3.0 is ever to be implemented. But according to FHFA estimates there are 2 million+ home owners that are currently eligible for HARP 2.0 that are not taking advantage. I’m assuming that at least a few of them find there way to this website. Why are these people not using the Home Affordable Refinance Program? There are a lot of theories on why that is, but this quote from an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette offers a solid clue:
“Many underwater HARP-eligible homeowners have been turned down before, and now they assume they can’t get help,” said Jim Svinth, chief economist for LoanDepot.com.advertisement
Timing is everything. Diane, one of the regular commenters on this website, can attest to that. She has been coming to makeharp3happen.com since it’s inception. She learned of a minor eligibility date change to the program made last Fall that changed her HARP eligibility. That change helped very few people. But that isn’t the point. The point is that the real estate market is changing everyday. What you were told previously, or what you thought about eligibility to refinance may no longer be applicable. It doesn’t hurt to try again. My suggestion to any underwater homeowner would be to talk to a mortgage professional at least once a year to find out where you now stand. Maybe like Diane you’ll find out that you now have options.
While policy makers at the federal level have failed to help underwater homeowners still struggling from the fallout of the financial crisis of 2008, at least one state is making headway to provide real assistance. Oregon is expanding the Rebuilding American Homeownership Assistance Program (RAHAPP) statewide after an eight month trial in the counties surrounding Portland. Not only is the program being expanded to all counties within the state, the eligibility requirements are also being loosened.
RAHAPP is the HARP-like program known as the “The Merkley Mortgage” proposed by Senator Jeff Merkley. Here is how the program works: The state of Oregon buys the mortgage from borrowers accepted into the program and refinances it into a new 30-year loan with a 5 percent interest rate. Borrowers also have the option to refinance to a 15-year mortgage at a 4 percent rate. The program is designed for homeowners ineligible for HARP 2.0 because their mortgages are not secured by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The startup costs for the program are being funded by the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Funds that were allocated to Oregon in 2010. RAHAPP is designed to be self supporting. Payments from homeowners in the program should cover the costs of any defaults.
This is great news for underwater homeowners in Oregon that have been waiting for HARP 3.0. Other states that have been sitting on, or misusing their Hardest Hit Funds should take note of this program. MakeHarp3Happen created a Change.org petition last year that urged all states that were allocated Hardest Hit Funds to implement “The Merkley Mortgage“. The petition is still active, so please go sign it.