Barely two weeks into a new government program that allows severely underwater borrowerswith loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to refinance their loans to lower rates, the numbers are surging.
Applications to refinance jumped 9.4 percent last week, seasonally adjusted, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Record low interest rates on the thirty-year fixed, averaging 4.05 percent, are only adding fuel to the fire.
“There was a lot of pent up demand,” said Bank of America spokesman Terry Francisco of the recently revamped Home Affordable Refinance Program(HARP 2). The newest incarnation removes the cap on negative equity, so borrowers who owe more than 125 percent of their home’s current value can now qualify. These so-called severely underwater borrowers, however, must be current on their payments.