The Obama administration has tried to light the fuse that will ignite a new refinance boom for underwater borrowers. But investors’ caution threatens to make this secondgo round for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) another damp squib.

Even though lending was set to begin in December under the new rules, brokers on the ground have heard “pretty much nothing,” regarding how the adjusted program will work, said Christopher Aniskovich, broker/owner of Security Financial Mortgage Corp. in Branford. Launched in 2009, HARP was intended to allow the millions of homeowners nationwide whose homes are underwater, or near it, to refinance at today’s low rates. Proponents at the time argued it represented one of the best chances to goose the economy – by putting a couple more bucks a month in homeowner’s pockets – without causing too much pain or requiring Congress to pass another spending bill.

But so far the effort has fizzled, with few refinancings happening under the program – so few, in fact, that last month the Obama administration prodded Fannie and Freddie into loosening the program’s guidelines even further.

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Commercial Record.

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