Consumer confidence reached its highest level since the Great Recession in September, according to the Thomson Reuters and University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers.
September’s increase in consumer confidence is the result of optimistic outlooks on the overall economy and personal incomes. The consumer expectations index rose 5.8 percent over the month of September, while the current conditions index fell 0.9 percent.
Additionally, a growing number of consumers expect their incomes to increase over the next year. The median income growth expectation reported in September was 1.1 percent, which is the highest expectation since late 2008. At the same time, more households anticipate income growth now than at any time since September 2008.
The renewal of income growth is particularly important for sparking consumer spending, and adding pending changes to monetary policy will make income gains prompt to boost even more consumer’s confidence.
In an effort to sign more eligible homeowners up for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is holding its third HARP outreach event in October, 2014.
The goal is to get the word out about HARP to borrowers who are current but underwater, and help borrowers who are either delinquent or at risk of losing their home recognize that they too have options.
Borrowers are eligible for a HARP loan if they meet the following requirements:
Their loan must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac;
The loan must have been originated on or before May 21, 2009;
LTV ratio must be greater than 80 percent;
Borrower must be current on mortgage payments.
Borrowers who could benefit from HARP are referred to as “in the money” borrowers; they are “in the money” if they meet all the HARP eligibility requirements, have a remaining balance on their loan of greater than $50,000 with more than 10 years left on their term, and have an interest rate of more than 1.5 percent more than current market rates.
As of June 2014, about 3.1 million homeowners have refinanced through HARP since it was introduced by FHFA and Treasury in 2009 as part of the Making Home Affordable Program.