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FHFA: HARP Refinances Drop in February

Amid continued rising home prices and rising mortgage rates, the number of refinances achieved through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is declining, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Even a slight drop in mortgage rates to 4.3 percent for the month did not bolster February's HARP refinances.

Representing 21 percent of all refinances the GSEs completed in February, 26,964 HARP refinances were completed over the month, according to the FHFA's latest Refinance Report.

About 30 percent of HARP refinances this year have been for underwater homeowners—those with loan-to-value ratios greater than 105 percent. Close to one-fourth of these loans were 15- or 20-year loans rather than the popular 30-year mortgage that dominates the market.

In February, 12 percent of HARP refinances went to homeowners with loan-to-value ratios exceeding 125 percent.

Georgia holds the highest rate of HARP refinances as a percentage of total refinances so far this year. Forty-two percent of loans refinanced in Georgia in the first two months of the year were completed through HARP, according to the FHFA.

Florida held the next-highest rate at 38 percent, and Nevada and Michigan followed with 34 percent of refinances completed through HARP over the first two months of this year.

In total, 3.11 million refinances have been completed through HARP since the program's inception.

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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