DEFINITION of 'Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)'

A mortgage-refinancing program offered by the Federal Housing Finance Agency to homeowners who own homes that are worth less than the outstanding balance on the loan. Homeowners eligible for Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) loans have mortgages owned or guaranteed by either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae that were sold to either Fannie or Freddie before May 31, 2009.

BREAKING DOWN 'Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)'

The 2008 financial crisis affected real estate values across the United States and led to some homeowners being underwater or near-underwater on their loans.To help homeowners refinance and avoid foreclosure, the federal government launched HARP in 2009.

The loan is available to homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments, thus excluding those who are already in foreclosure or have walked away from their properties due to negative equity. Homeowners can refinance through their existing lender or through a different lender participating in HARP. The program is available for properties that are primary residences, as well as for second homes and investment properties.

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