We are racing towards the end of the Home Affordable Refinance Program. It is set to expire in 14 months. Legislative efforts to expand the program to include underwater homeowners with non-GSE held loans has never been able to gain any traction in Congress due to partisanship politics. Partisanship and gridlock is never going to end, so that avenue for enacting HARP 3.0 is essentially a dead end. The slimmest of hopes for this plan are on President Obama. The only way HARP 3.0 will happen is if the President implements it through executive order. Advisors with the U.S. Treasury hinted at the possibility of executive order as far back as January 2013:
However, we will also consider non-legislative means at our disposal to help responsible non-GSE homeowners access these low rates. To be the most effective, as well as address investor concerns, the legislative route would be preferable to using existing Making Home Affordable program authority.
-Michael Stegman, U.S. Treasury Housing Adviser – 1/29/13advertisement
One of the more significant moves under consideration is in housing. Obama is weighing whether to use his executive authority to give more of the country’s nearly 11 million struggling homeowners a chance to refinance at today’s ultra-low interest rates, according to the Treasury Department and others in talks with the administration on the issue.
The executive order never happened. Either the President lacked the backbone to actually use an executive order, or it was simply an idle threat lobbed at Republicans. Regardless, we are still waiting for it. Unless the President decides to actually care about this issue and do something about it, HARP 3.0 will not happen.