U.S. mortgage giants extend home refinance program

U.S. mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will extend the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) by two years, the Federal Housing Finance Agency ( FHFA) announced on Thursday. The refinance program was initially introduced by the FHFA and the U.S. Department of the Treasury in early 2009 and scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2013. It allows borrowers with loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to refinance at lower rates even if they owe more than the home's current value.

"More than 2 million homeowners have refinanced through HARP, proving it a useful tool for reducing risk," FHFA's Acting Director Edward Demarco said in a statement. "We are extending the program so more underwater borrowers can benefit from lower interest rates."

The FHFA will soon launch a nationwide campaign to inform homeowners about HARP and motivate them to take advantage of it, the statement said.

Philippines News agency