The United States Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced an expansion of the Obama Administration's Making Home Affordable Refinance Program to include participation by borrowers who are current but up to 125 percent underwater on their mortgage. Under authorization provided by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, borrowers whose mortgages are currently owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will now be allowed to refinance those loans according to the terms of the Home Affordable Refinance program established earlier this year. Secretary Donovan made the announcement while touring a neighborhood in Las Vegas with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Congresswoman Dina Titus. Las Vegas leads the nation in foreclosures and approximately 67 percent of the current mortgage holders have mortgages that are higher than the worth of their homes.
Currently, only those borrowers whose first mortgage does not exceed 105 percent of the current market value of the property are eligible for the Obama Administration's Home Affordable Refinance Program. For example if the property is worth $200,000, the borrower must owe $210,000 or less. Today's announcement will allow more homeowners to become eligible for the program, by increasing the eligibility to 125 percent. Making Home Affordable, a comprehensive plan to stabilize the U.S. housing market, was first announced by the Obama Administration on February 18, 2009. In just a few months, more than 200,000 borrowers have received offers for trial loan modifications, tens of thousands of refinances and trial modifications are under way, and informational mailings about the program have been sent to more than one million borrowers who may be eligible.