Seven years after the federal government first offered an option to help some homeowners refinance into more affordable mortgages, the program is being extended yet again, and plans for a new refinancing program are being completed.
The Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, already had been extended at least twice and was scheduled to end at the end of this year. But HARP will continue through September 2017, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said.
The program, begun in response to the housing crisis, allows people who owe more than their home is worth, or who have little equity, to refinance into a loan at current low interest rates. (The average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage has hovered below 3.5 percent for weeks. For much of 2008, it was about 6 percent.)
More than 3.4 million homeowners have refinanced their mortgages under the program since it began,…