WASHINGTON - The number of underwater US homeowners refinancing through an Obama administration anti-foreclosure program has picked up sharply since its expansion late last year, according to figures a housing regulator released on Monday.
More than 78,000 home loans were refinanced using the expanded Home Affordable Refinance Program, nicknamed HARP 2.0, during the first five months of 2012, more than for all of 2011, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said.
The Obama administration and the housing regulator FHFA revamped the HARP program in October to allow homeowners with loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and who are current on their mortgages to refinance no matter how much their home value has dropped below what they owe.
"These numbers show HARP 2.0 is accomplishing the goals set forth -- to provide relief to borrowers who might otherwise be unable to refinance due to house price declines," FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco said in a statement.
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