Hoping to spark borrower interest in the four-year-old Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has set up a new website at www.harp.gov. In addition, the agency is bringing in celebrity talent -- HGTV's Mike Aubrey -- to promote the initiative, which is designed to help homeowners who are upside down on their Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans.
While FHFA acting director Edward DeMarco estimates that more than 2.8 million Americans have taken advantage of HARP, participation is still far short of the 4 million to 5 million borrowers initially anticipated. The program has already been revamped once and is the midst of a new overhaul designed to eliminate additional barriers to participation. Ahead of the HARP 3.0 launch, meanwhile, the FHFA has kicked off a nationwide public relations campaign to educate the nation about the assistance program. "HARP is an absolute no-brainer for eligible homeowners," according to Aubrey, star of "Power Broker." "This program allows underwater homeowners the option to refinance at a lower rate and, in my book, that is a great deal."