Drop in “Home Loan Limits” Has Many Concerned

In less than a month, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will scale back the size of loans they buy from lenders, which some industry groups are saying will hurt home sales and could further dampen a housing market recovery. The drop in the conforming loan limit may make it more difficult for some buyers to purchase homes in expensive markets, housing experts say.

The current loan limits are set to expire Oct. 1. If an extension isn’t granted, the maximum mortgage amount in high-cost areas will drop from $729,750 to $625,500 (although that limit will vary throughout the country).

Some banks, such as Bank of America, have already stopped taking new applications for jumbo loans at the current rate so that they can process the ones already in the pipeline in time for the Oct. 1 deadline.

The drop in the conforming loan limit is expected to impact 2 percent of homes nationwide, but will have a much greater effect in some areas. For example, some analysts say 10 percent of the housing market in New York will be affected. 

Pamela Liebman, CEO of New York real estate company the Corcoran Group, told USA Today that the new loan requirements will “put a lot of buyers out of the market.”

Meanwhile, lobbying efforts are continuing, as several industry groups, including the National Association of REALTORS®, are urging Congress to act quickly on a two-year extension to maintain the GSE loan limit at $729,750. 

 Source: “Coming Loan Changes Could Squeeze High-Priced Home Markets,” USA Today (Sept. 6, 2011)

Other articles relating to the Sacramento and Placerville, California regions at: www.sierraproperties.com

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“Loan Limits” change would impact California housing?

More than 30,000 California families will face higher down payments, higher mortgage rates, and stricter loan qualification requirements if conforming loan limits on mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac are reduced beginning October 1, 2011, according to analysis by C.A.R.

Barring congressional action, the maximum FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac conforming loan limit will decline to $625,500 beginning Oct. 1, 2011, from the current $729,750 limit, though the majority of counties will fall far below the $625,500 maximum.  The conforming loan limit determines the maximum size of a mortgage that FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) can buy or guarantee.  Non-conforming or jumbo loans typically carry a higher mortgage interest rate than a conforming loan and require a higher down payment, increasing the monthly payment and negatively impacting housing affordability for California home buyers.

C.A.R. and NAR have long advocated making higher conforming loan limits permanent.  As a result of C.A.R.’s and NAR’s efforts, in 2008, Congress temporarily raised the conforming loan limits from $417,000 to $729,750 and has extended them annually through fiscal year 2011.

To view charts showing how the changes would impact various areas throughout California, visit: http://www.car.org/newsstand/newsreleases/2011newsreleases/loanlimits/ 

Other articles relating to the Sacramento and Placerville, California regions at: www.sierraproperties.com

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