More than 500 homeowners met face-to-face with lenders and nonprofit housing counselors on April 6 to get help refinancing through the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program, which is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31.
The initiative builds upon the O’Malley administration’s ongoing effort to preserve and protect homeownership in the wake of the most severe national housing crisis since the Great Depression. Learn more about what the O’Malley administration is doing to expand opportunities and protect the quality of life for Maryland’s hardworking families.
Modeled after DHCD’s successful foreclosure prevention workshops, the Refi Workshop at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville enabled many homeowners to at least begin the application process for HARP, cutting through the barriers that prevent many eligible families from taking advantage of a program that could save them hundreds of dollars on their monthly payments.
A recent national survey found that more than 80 percent of the homeowners who were denied a refinance through HARP, did in fact qualify for the program. The survey also found that many homeowners didn’t understand the program or found it too time consuming to explore.
Those barriers prevented borrowers from taking advantage of today’s historically low interest rates. There are nearly 80,000 borrowers in Maryland that may be eligible for a HARP refinance, and DHCD is mailing information letters out to each of them.
“This is a historic opportunity for our families,” Secretary Skinner said during the April 6 workshop. “Interest rates are at an all-time low, housing prices are beginning to rise and the Home Affordable Refinance Program may be the only opportunity for homeowners who are underwater to refinance into a more stable, more sustainable mortgage. But the window is closing. HARP expires Dec. 31.”
DHCD plans to have a similar workshop for homeowners in the Baltimore region.
Homeowners seeking more information about HARP are urged to contact their lender or:
• Making Home Affordable at http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov or by calling 1-888-995-HOPE (4773)
• Fannie Mae at http://www.KnowYourOptions.com or by calling 1-800-7FANNIE
• Freddie Mac at http://www.FreddieMac.com or by calling 1-800-FREDDIE