President Outlines New Changes to HARP

President Obama is finally recognizing what we’ve been saying all along. The economy will not recover until the housing market recovers. And this week, Obama took a small step toward fixing the housing market.

While in Las Vegas, President Obama outlined changes to the two-year-old Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) that will help homeowners with little or no equity in their houses to refinance. The new rules will relax eligibility standards, allowing those who are 25% or more underwater on their mortgages to refinance for a smaller fee and take advantage of loans with lower interest rates. The HARP changes apply to homeowners with federally guaranteed mortgages who are current on their payments.

This new policy even comes with one of the presidents’ catchphrases as the White House tries to push Republicans into action: “We can’t wait.” It’s Obama’s latest in a string of slogans aimed at blaming GOP lawmakers for a lack of action on the economy.

The White House said they had no estimates for how many homeowners would be eligible for refinancing under the new rules or how many might take advantage of the program.

“However many homeowners are going to be helped by this, they will be very grateful for the assistance that will allow them to refinance at today’s low rates,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

Do you think that President Obama’s plan will have the effect that he is hoping for? Are you doing anything to educate your clients on the best way to take advantage of the new HARP initiative? What else should the president be doing to alleviate the housing crisis?

Please share your thoughts with us.