Florida homeowners missing out on mortgage savings

Nearly 100,000 Florida homeowners, including 5,100 in Palm Beach County, are losing out on lower monthly mortgage payments by not taking advantage of the Home Affordable Refinance Program.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency issued a report this week that found 3.2 million homeowners nationwide have used HARP, which reduces the amount of interest paid on mortgages that are underwater.

Still, 810,000 homeowners nationally are eligible, but haven’t applied.

An interactive map shows by Zip code where those eligible loans are, including 203 in Palm Beach Gardens, 209 in Jupiter, and 127 in Wellington.

Florida by far has the most eligible loans with 99,840.

A report last year from the inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency said borrowers often confuse HARP with other government foreclosure prevention programs, and that people assume they aren’t eligible.

Also, some borrowers applied when HARP was first announced and eligibility was more restricted. Homeowners who owed 25 percent or more on their mortgage than their home’s value weren’t eligible. HARP now accepts homeowners no matter how underwater they are.

To be eligible for a HARP refinance, the loan must be owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and must have been sold to them before May 31, 2009. Homeowners also must be current on mortgage payments and have less than 20 percent equity in their homes.

Florida homeowners missing out on mortgage savings

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