Foreclosure Aid Programs Extended to 2016

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that it would be extending its participation in the Home Affordable Mortgage Program and the Home Affordable Refinance Program through the end of 2016.

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"These programs have provided critically important relief for many borrowers by allowing them to lower their monthly payments and, as a result, have prevented many foreclosures," says Mel Watt, FHFA director. FHFA is the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Under HARP, home owners who have loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac can refinance at lower interest rates, even if their home has lost value. HAMP, on the other hand, provides incentives for lenders to alter mortgage terms of borrowers in order to make the loans more affordable.

HAMP and HARP were started after the housing crisis to help home owners avoid foreclosure. While the number is lessening, Watt estimates that about 600,000 borrowers could still be helped by HARP.

Watt says HAMP and HARP are not meant to be permanent programs and he said that this would be the final extension for HAMP and likely for HARP too.

Source: "Fannie, Freddie Participation in Foreclosure Prevention Programs Extended," Reuters (May 8, 2015)