Homeowners refinancing through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), a Government anti-foreclosure program, have decreased their debt this year.
People who owe more than 125 percent of their properties' value had been shut out from refinancing until the changes to the HARP program were unveiled last year.
HARP was established three years ago to provide relief to borrowers who might otherwise be unable to refinance due to house price declines. New plans are being considered to opening up the program for millions more borrowers in order to speed the housing recovery.
Late last year, the Government revised the HARP program to allow homeowners with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans and who are current on their mortgages to refinance no matter how much their home value has dropped below what they owe.
One of the big reasons for the surge of HARP refinances this year has been the removal of loan-to-value ratios on eligible mortgage loans. The re-worked program also waived certain fees and gave lenders a break from warranties they sign when they originate certain loans.