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House OKs Lift on Fannie, Freddie Loan Limits

January 25th, 2008 10:46 AM by Lehel Szucs


House OKs Lift on Fannie, Freddie Loan Limits

The economic stimulus package hammered out between the White House and Congress on Thursday lifts the size of home loans that may be bought or insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Fannie/Freddie cap would rise to $729,750 for one year. Currently Fannie and Freddie are capped at $417,000.

The measure also would permit the Federal Housing Administration to indefinitely insure loans up to that same level. Currently, FHA loans may not exceed $367,000.

“The stimulus package announced today is a positive step toward strengthening the housing market and our economy," NAR President Dick Gaylord said in a public statement. "The increase in loan limits should provide liquidity to the mortgage market in all parts of the country allowing qualified home buyers who may have been on the sidelines to enter the market."

The measure is also expected to make jumbo loans more affordable because it will make them more attractive to investors, who since summer have shunned home loans that don’t pass through Freddie or Fannie.

“In high-cost states, many home buyers with good credit could save $3,000 to $5,000 per year by not being forced into the current jumbo mortgage market," Gaylord said. "Currently, only families in lower cost areas are able to qualify for these types of affordable loans. Such a move would stimulate home sales and help stem the rise in foreclosures, reducing the number of foreclosures by as much as 210,000."

In particular, prospective home buyers in costly regions like California, Northern Virginia, and New York have faced higher mortgage rates and tougher loan terms, and those areas would get relief under the plan, says Susan Wachter, a professor of real estate and finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

"This is meaningful because the mortgage crisis and meltdown is geographically concentrated," she says. "This response will assist the stressed areas."

Source: Reuters, Patrick Rucker (01/24/08) and REALTOR Magazine Online

Posted in:General
Posted by Lehel Szucs on January 25th, 2008 10:46 AM



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