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California Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund

Proposition 46 also called the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2002 is a California-approved, $2.1 billion dollar bond measure. It provides funds for the construction, rehabilitation and preservation of affordable rental housing, emergency shelters and homeless facilities. Funds can be used to provide down payment assistance to low and moderate-income first-time homebuyers. Seniors, families with children, teachers, disabled persons, veterans and working people will benefit from the bond.

The Legislative Analyst Office accurately outlines the use of Proposition 46 funds according to the four types of programs it fund as follows:

Multifamily Housing Programs ($1.11 Billion). This measure funds a variety of housing programs aimed at the construction of rental housing projects, such as apartment buildings. These programs generally provide local governments, non-profit organizations, and private developers with low-interest (3 percent) loans to fund part of the construction cost. In exchange, a project must reserve a portion of its units for low-income households for a period of 55 years. This measure gives funding priority to projects in already developed areas and near existing public services (such as public transportation).

Homeownership Programs ($405 Million). A number of the programs funded by this measure encourages homeownership for low- and moderate-income homebuyers. Most of the funds can be used to provide downpayment assistance to homebuyers through low-interest loans or grants. Typically, eligibility for this assistance are based on the household s income, the cost of the home being purchased, and whether it is the household s first home purchase.

Farmworker Housing ($200 Million). These funds are be used to provide loans and grants to the developers of housing for farmworkers. Program funds are used for both rental and owner-occupied housing.

Other Programs ($385 Million). Additional funds are allocated for the construction of homeless shelters, payments to cities and counties based on their approval of housing units, provision of mortgage insurance for high-risk homebuyers, and capital needs of local code enforcement departments.

HOUSING PRIMER

Do They Really Like Me

GETTING A LOAN

Once you ve figured out what amount of loan you re able to comfortably afford, it s time to talk to a mortgage lender.

Check to see if the home you re considering purchasing is in a special bond assessment district. Some homes in California can be assessed yearly bond fees  for up to 30 years or more  for things like school improvements, levee protection, new roads, street lights and so on.

Home Buyer Hint

Loan Pre-Qualification
Getting pre-qualified for a loan is a pretty casual once-over of your financial situation. You provide a mortgage broker or lender with financial information, and they give you a non-binding letter indicating how much you could possibly borrow.

The lender does not verify any of the information you give them. This gives you a good  jumping off point in deciding the price range you can afford.

Loan Pre-Approval
Getting pre-approved for a loan is a much more rigorous process. A lender will verify all of the information you ve provided including income, debts, employment and cash on hand. The pre-approval process signifies to a seller that you are a very serious buyer. The lender provides you with certain guarantees that they are ready, willing and able to fund a loan.

Check with your real estate agent to determine if you should get pre-qualified or pre-approved for your loan prior to house shopping.

FHA-Insured Loans

FHA was established in 1934 under the National Housing Act and was consolidated into HUD in 1965.

The FHA s purpose is to improve housing standards and conditions, provide an adequate home financing through mortgage insurance, help stabilize the mortgage market and provide homeownership opportunities. HUD acts as an administrator and insurer of FHA s originated loans. FHA does not insure individuals, it insures the loans that lenders offer to borrowers. Lenders must offer long-term, self-amortizing, market rate, assumable loans in order to participate in the program.

By insuring lenders loans, lower down payment costs and mortgage insurance premiums are offered to homebuyers. Other advantages of FHA insured loans are: less stringent borrower qualifying criteria; financing up to 100% of up-front loan closing costs and insurance premiums; higher loan-to-value ratios on loan refinances; and higher allowances for seller-paid closing costs. In addition, the presence of FHA insured loans in the mortgage market have other benefits. They help lenders preservation of their fiduciary profile, stabilize the market, and provide a reliable secondary mortgage market participant.

FHA Single Family Insurance Programs

Loan Programs:

  • Energy Efficient Mortgages Program
  • Graduated Payment Mortgage Insurance (Section 245(a))
  • Growing Equity Mortgage Insurance (Section 245(a))
  • Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Program
  • Indian reservations and Other Restricted Lands
  • Insurance for Adjustable Rate Mortgages (Section 251)
  • Manufactured Home Loan Insurance (Title I)
  • Manufactured Home Lot and Combination Loan Insurance
  • Mortgage Insurance for Condominium Units (Section 234(c))
  • Mortgage Insurance for Low/Mod Income Buyers (Section 221(d)(2)
  • Mortgage Insurance for Members of the Armed Forces (Section 222)
  • Mortgage Insurance for Older, Declining Areas (Section 223(e))
  • Mortgage Insurance for One- to Four-Family Homes (Section 203(b))
  • Property Improvement Loan Insurance (Title I)
  • Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance (Section 203(k))
  • Single-Family Cooperative Mortgage Insurance (Section 203(n))
  • Single-Family Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims (Section 203 (h))
  • Single-Family Mortgage Insurance for Outlying Areas (Section 203 (i))

Regulatory Programs

  • Insurance premiums
  • Interstate Landsales
  • Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards
  • Minimum Property Standards
  • Premium refunds
  • Reduction in mortgage insurance
  • Regulatory Programs Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act
  • Servicing and Loss Mitigation

HOUSING PRIMER

The Short Sale Tax Implications

In case of a real estate there are short sale tax implications which have to be noted. Primarily there are chances of receiving a form 1099-C for the total amount of loss which the lender has to bear. According to an U. S government agency dealing with taxes named Internal Revenue Service this is interpreted as loan forgiveness. Tax payment has to be made on the basis of the financial status of the borrower. If the borrower is solvent and has some assets like saving, he has to pay the required amount of tax.

A borrower can make debt settlement with the lender for a lesser amount than the total amount due. Thereby the former might have to report this debt which has been forgiven as regular income along with some exceptions. The categories which fall under forgiven debt are money due after foreclosure or repossession of property or unpaid credit accounts. The exceptions are:

o The lender exempts an amount which is more than the principal amount of the debt. A 1099-C form has to be delivered to the borrower at the year end. According to the IRS the written off debt amount has to be reported as income while filing tax return by the borrower.

In case of non delivery of the form to the borrower it is assumed to have directly forwarded to IRS by the lender. If the borrower does not report the exempted debt amount as income, there can be serious consequences. One can receive a tax bill or an audit notice if IRS is aware of the transaction on their database.

o Circumstances where the forgiven amount of debt was treated as a gift, one is not required to report the same as income.

o The borrower faces bankruptcy and discharges the debt.

o Borrower’s insolvency before the creditor’s settlement of debt is considered.

Consultation is suggested from a qualified tax and legal counsel to check whether it is possible to avail the benefits from these exceptions.

The debt amount which a borrower escapes is sometimes referred to as phantom income. Often a lender makes a probe to judge the truthfulness of the status of the borrower. This is referred to as deficiency judgment which is the difference between the total amount due and the amount paid out of short sale. Henceforth the burden on the borrower increases further. He loses the property, earns nil from the transaction and can suffer from possible insolvency. This can result in a permanent setback for the borrower.

So there has been a solution to this problem. A new federal legislation has been formulated comprising of a temporary three years moratorium. It relates to the tax treatment of the exempted debt that does not exceed the basis of the owner in the home.

The lender in a short sale makes some verification regarding the estimated closing costs on HUD-1 form used by the settlement agent. The cost includes the taxes, real estate commissions, homeowner dues, title insurance costs and other closing costs. Approval of the said form by the lender is necessary for the closing of the short sale transaction.

The short sale tax implications has been formulated and reviewed continuously to suit both the lenders and the borrowers.

Article Source: http://www.articlesnatch.com

About the Author:
Short Sale Tax Implications…what implications? All you need to know about Short Sales and tax considerations at http://www.nphsrealestate.org/short-sale/law-tax

Q-A Series – GENERAL FINANCING QUESTIONS:THE BASICS

Q. WHAT IS A MORTGAGE

Generally speaking, a mortgage is a loan obtained to purchase real estate. The “mortgage” itself is a lien (a legal claim) on the home or property that secures the promise to pay the debt. All mortgages have two features in common: principal and interest.

Q. WHAT IS A LOAN TO VALUE (LTV) HOW DOES IT DETERMINE THE SIZE OF MY LOAN

The loan to value ratio is the amount of money you borrow compared with the price or appraised value of the home you are purchasing. Each loan has a specific LTV limit. For example: With a 95% LTV loan on a home priced at $50,000, you could borrow up to $47,500 (95% of $50,000), and would have to pay,$2,500 as a down payment.

The LTV ratio reflects the amount of equity borrowers have in their homes. The higher the LTV the less cash homebuyers are required to pay out of their own funds. So, to protect lenders against potential loss in case of default, higher LTV loans (80% or more) usually require mortgage insurance policy.

Q. WHAT TYPES OF LOANS ARE AVAILABLE AND WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF EACH

Fixed Rate Mortgages: Payments remain the same for the the life of the loan

Types
– 15-year
– 30-year

Advantages
– Predictable
– Housing cost remains unaffected by interest rate changes and inflation.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMS): Payments increase or decrease on a regular schedule with changes in interest rates; increases subject to limits

Types
– Balloon Mortgage- Offers very low rates for an Initial period of time (usually 5, 7, or 10 years); when time has elapsed, the balance is clue or refinanced (though not automatically)
– Two-Step Mortgage- Interest rate adjusts only once and remains the same for the life of the loan
– ARMS linked to a specific index or margin

Advantages
– Generally offer lower initial interest rates
– Monthly payments can be lower
– May allow borrower to qualify for a larger loan amount

Q. WHEN DO ARMS MAKE SENSE

An ARM may make sense If you are confident that your income will increase steadily over the years or if you anticipate a move in the near future and aren’t concerned about potential increases in interest rates.

Q. WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF 15- AND 30-YEAR LOAN TERMS

30-Year:
– In the first 23 years of the loan, more interest is paid off than principal, meaning larger tax deductions.
– As inflation and costs of living increase, mortgage payments become a smaller part of overall expenses.

15-year:
– Loan is usually made at a lower interest rate.
– Equity is built faster because early payments pay more principal.

Q. CAN I PAY OFF MY LOAN AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

Yes. By sending in extra money each month or making an extra payment at the end of the year, you can accelerate the process of paying off the loan. When you send extra money, be sure to indicate that the excess payment is to be applied to the principal. Most lenders allow loan prepayment, though you may have to pay a prepayment penalty to do so. Ask your lender for details.

Q. ARE THERE SPECIAL MORTGAGES FOR FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS

Yes. Lenders now offer several affordable mortgage options which can help first-time homebuyers overcome obstacles that made purchasing a home difficult in the past. Lenders may now be able to help borrowers who don’t have a lot of money saved for the down payment and closing costs, have no or a poor credit history, have quite a bit of long-term debt, or have experienced income irregularities.

Q. HOW LARGE OF A DOWN PAYMENT DO I NEED

There are mortgage options now available that only require a down payment of 5% or less of the purchase price. But the larger the down payment, the less you have to borrow, and the more equity you’ll have. Mortgages with less than a 20% down payment generally require a mortgage insurance policy to secure the loan. When considering the size of your down payment, consider that you’ll also need money for closing costs, moving expenses, and – possibly -repairs and decorating.

Q. WHAT IS INCLUDED IN A MONTHLY MORTGAGE PAYMENT

The monthly mortgage payment mainly pays off principal and interest. But most lenders also include local real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and mortgage insurance (if applicable).

Q. WHAT FACTORS AFFECT MORTGAGE PAYMENTS

The amount of the down payment, the size of the mortgage loan, the interest rate, the length of the repayment term and payment schedule will all affect the size of your mortgage payment.

Q. HOW DOES THE INTEREST RATE FACTOR IN SECURING A MORTGAGE LOAN

A lower interest rate allows you to borrow more money than a high rate with the some monthly payment. Interest rates can fluctuate as you shop for a loan, so ask-lenders if they offer a rate “lock-in”which guarantees a specific interest rate for a certain period of time. Remember that a lender must disclose the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of a loan to you. The APR shows the cost of a mortgage loan by expressing it in terms of a yearly interest rate. It is generally higher than the interest rate because it also includes the cost of points, mortgage insurance, and other fees included in the loan.

Q. WHAT HAPPENS IF INTEREST RATES DECREASE AND I HAVE A FIXED RATE LOAN

If interest rates drop significantly, you may want to investigate refinancing. Most experts agree that if you plan to be in your house for at least 18 months and you can get a rate 2% less than your current one, refinancing is smart. Refinancing may, however, involve paying many of the same fees paid at the original closing, plus origination and application fees.

Q. WHAT ARE DISCOUNT POINTS

Discount points allow you to lower your interest rate. They are essentially prepaid interest, With each point equaling 1% of the total loan amount. Generally, for each point paid on a 30-year mortgage, the interest rate is reduced by 1/8 (or.125) of a percentage point. When shopping for loans, ask lenders for an interest rate with 0 points and then see how much the rate decreases With each point paid. Discount points are smart if you plan to stay in a home for some time since they can lower the monthly loan payment. Points are tax deductible when you purchase a home and you may be able to negotiate for the seller to pay for some of them.

Q. WHAT IS AN ESCROW ACCOUNT DO I NEED ONE

Established by your lender, an escrow account is a place to set aside a portion of your monthly mortgage payment to cover annual charges for homeowner’s insurance, mortgage insurance (if applicable), and property taxes. Escrow accounts are a good idea because they assure money will always be available for these payments. If you use an escrow account to pay property tax or homeowner’s insurance, make sure you are not penalized for late payments since it is the lender’s responsibility to make those payments.

Low Income Purchase Assistance (LIPA) Program

The City of Los Angeles Housing Department’s (LAHD), Low Income Purchase Assistance (LIPA) Program offers purchase assistance financing to eligible first-time, low income homebuyers seeking to purchase eligible homes in the City of Los Angeles.  LAHD provides assistance in the form of a deferred loan for purchase assistance (down payment and closing costs).

LAHD also provides additional purchase assistance loan funds through the American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI) Program. All low income applicants are automatically considered for ADDI loan funds when applying under the Low Income Purchase Assistance (LIPA) Program.

LAHD LIPA AND ADDI LOAN LIMITS

  • LIPA – Up to $60,000 for purchase assistance, down payment and closing costs (loan funds may be used to cover closing costs up to 5% of the purchase price) AND
  • ADDI – Six percent (6%) of the purchase price or $10,000; whichever is greater.

ELIGIBLE PROPERTIES

  • Property must be located in the City of Los Angeles (See list of LA Communities).
  • Standard sales, REOs/Foreclosures, and Approved Short Sales.
  • Condominiums, Townhomes, or Planned Unit Developments (PUD) built between 1979 – 2010.
  • Single family homes built between 2000 – 2010.
  • One (1) unit properties only.
  • Homebuyer must occupy the home as their Primary Residence.
  • Property cannot be tenant occupied.
  • All properties applying under the LIPA and ADDI programs will be inspected by LAHD.  LAHD does not charge for the property inspection.
  • The property must be in very good condition and cannot have any Code violations or illegal rooms/structures.  Any minor property deficiencies or repairs identified by the LAHD inspection will have to be repaired or cured during escrow and paid for by the Buyer or Seller.
  • LAHD does not offer any property rehabilitation/repair funds.

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

  • Applicant must be a first-time homebuyer, defined as someone who has not had an ownership interest in any real property at any time during the last three (3) years.
  • Applicants must attend an eight (8) hour Homebuyer Education Class provided by one of LAHD’s Approved Homebuyer Education Providers (see Approved List).
  • Total household gross income of all adults 18 years of age or older who will be living in the home must be at or below the limits shown on the Income table below.

2010 MAXIMUM INCOME LIMITS (as of 05/14/2010)

Household Size

1 person

2 people

3 people

4 people

5 people

6 people

7 people

8 people

Annual Household Income

$46,400
or less

$53,000
or less

$59,650
or less

$66,250
or less

$71,550
or less

$76,850
or less

$82,150
or less

$87,450
or less

(For larger household size limits, please contact LAHD)

LAHD LIPA AND ADDI LOAN TERMS

  • Deferred, requiring no monthly payments.
  • Shared Appreciation applies to LIPA and ADDI loans (see Shared Appreciation Example).
  • Loan is due when the property is sold, title transfer, or the repayment of the first mortgage.
  • Refinancing of first mortgage is allowed by LAHD under certain conditions.

HOMEBUYER DOWNPAYMENT REQUIREMENT

  • A minimum of one percent (1%) of the property purchase price from the Applicant’s own funds is required as down payment.  Please note that additional funds may be needed from the Applicant to complete the purchase.

MAXIMUM PURCHASE PRICE/HOME VALUE LIMIT:  $313,500

HOW DOES THIS PROGRAM WORK?

LAHD provides purchase assistance to the Borrower up to a maximum of $60,000 of LIPA funds, plus ADDI funds equal to six percent (6%) of the purchase price.  LAHD’s loan provides the difference between the purchase price plus closing costs (up to 5% of sales price) and the amount of the buyer’s first mortgage loan, down payment and other funding sources.

Example:
Purchase Price of Home:                                                            $300,000
Buyer’s Closing Costs:                                                                    $    9,000

TOTAL FUNDS NEEDED:                                 $309,000Funds Available:
First Mortgage Amount (for which buyer qualifies):               $228,750
Homebuyer Down Payment (1% of purchase price)                  $    3,000
Homebuyer Additional cash contribution                                   $    2,250
?LAHD ADDI Loan (6% of purchase price)                             $   18,000
?LAHD LIPA Loan                                                                         $  57,000

TOTAL FUNDS AVAILABLE:                              $309,000

In the example above, the total LAHD Purchase Assistance loan equals $75,000 ($18,000 of ADDI, plus $57,000 of LIPA).
In the above example, the LAHD Shared Appreciation equals 25% ($75,000/$300,000).
Note:  The Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) Program may be used in conjunction with the LIPA and ADDI programs.

HOW DO I START?

Contact one of LAHD’s Participating Lender to get prequalified for a first mortgage and LAHD’s LIPA and ADDI Programs.  The list of LAHD’s Participating Lenders is on LAHD’s webpage at http://lahd.lacity.org , Home Buyers, General Information, Resources section.  For more information, you may contact LAHD at (213) 808-8800.

What You Need for a Mortgage Your Lender Checklist

  • W-2 forms  or business tax return forms if you’re self-employed  for the last two or three years for every person signing the loan.
  • Copies of at least one pay stub for each person signing the loan.
  • Account numbers of all your credit cards and the amounts for any outstanding balances.
  • Copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements for both checking and savings accounts.
  • Lender, loan number, and amount owed on other installment loans, such as student loans and car loans.
  • Addresses where you ve lived for the last five to seven years, with names of landlords if appropriate.
  • Copies of brokerage account statements for two to four months, as well as a list of any other major assets of value, such as a boat, RV, or stocks or bonds not held in a brokerage account.
  • Copies of your most recent 401(k) or other retirement account statement.
  • Documentation to verify additional income, such as child support or a pension.
  • Copies of personal tax forms for the last two to three years.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Tips for Lowering Homeowner s Insurance Costs

1. Review the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report on the property you re interested in buying. CLUE reports detail the property s claims history for the most recent five years, which insurers may use to deny coverage. Make the sale contingent on a home inspection to ensure that problems identified in the CLUE report have been repaired.
2. Seek insurance coverage as soon as your offer is approved. You must obtain insurance to buy. And you don t want to be told at closing that the insurer has denied your coverage.
3. Maintain good credit. Insurers often use credit-based insurance scores to determine premiums.
4. Buy your home owners and auto policies from the same company and you ll usually qualify for savings. But make sure the discount really yields the lowest price.
5. Raise your deductible. If you can afford to pay more toward a loss that occurs, your premiums will be lower. Avoid making claims under $1,000.
6. Ask about other discounts. For example, retirees who tend to be home more than full-time workers may qualify for a discount on theft insurance. You also may be able to obtain discounts for having smoke detectors, a burglar alarm, or dead-bolt locks.
7. Seek group discounts. If you belong to any groups, such as associations or alumni organizations, they may have deals on insurance coverage.
8. Review your policy limits and the value of your home and possessions annually. Some items depreciate and may not need as much coverage.
9. Investigate a government-backed insurance plan. In some high-risk areas, federal or state government may back plans to lower rates. Ask your agent.
10. Be sure you insure your house for the correct amount. Remember, you re covering replacement cost, not market value.

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormag) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS .
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Understand Real Estate Representation

By: G. M. Filisko

Whether you’re buying or selling, it’s important to choose representation that meets your needs in the transaction.

You have choices when selecting representation in a real estate transaction. Here are five tips for understanding which type of legal relationship with a real estate professional, called an agency relationship, will best protect you when you buy or sell a home.

1. Buyer’s agency
When you’re buying a home, you can hire an agent who represents only you, called an exclusive buyer’s representative or agent. A buyer’s agent works in your best interest and owes you a fiduciary duty. You can pay your buyer’s agent yourself, or ask the seller, or the seller’s agent, to pay your agent a share of their sales commission.

If you’re selling your home and hiring an agent to list it exclusively, you’ve hired a selling representative–an agent who owes fiduciary duties to you.

Typically, you pay a selling agent a commission at closing. Selling agents usually offer or agree to pay a portion of their sales commission to the buyer’s agent. If your seller’s agent brings in a buyer, your agent keeps the entire commission.

2. Subagency
When you purchase a home, the agent you can opt to work with may not be your agent at all, but instead may be a subagent of the seller. In general, a subagent represents and acts in the best interest of the sellers and sellers’ agent.

If your agent is acting as a subagent, you can expect to be treated honestly, but the subagent owes loyalty to the sellers and their agent and can’t put your interests above those of the sellers. In a few states, agents aren’t permitted to act as subagents.

Never tell a subagent anything you don’t want the sellers to know. Maybe you offered $150,000 for a home but are willing to go up to $160,000. That’s the type of information subagents would be required to pass on to their clients, the sellers.

3. Disclosed dual agency
In many states, agents and companies can represent both parties in a home sale as long as that relationship is fully disclosed. It’s called disclosed dual agency.

Because dual agents represent both parties, they can’t be protective of and loyal to only you. Dual agents don’t owe all the traditional fiduciary duties to clients. Instead, they owe limited fiduciary duties to each party.

Why would you agree to dual agency Suppose you want to buy a house that’s listed for sale by the same real estate brokerage where your buyer’s agent works. In that case, the real estate brokerage would be representing both you and the seller and you’d both have to agree to that.

Because there’s a potential for conflicts of interest with dual agency, all parties must give their informed consent. In many states, that consent must be in writing.

4. Designated agency
A form of disclosed dual agency, “designated agency” allows two different agents within a single firm to represent the buyer and seller in the same transaction.

To avoid conflicts that can arise with dual agency, some managing brokers designate or appoint agents in their company to represent only sellers, or only buyers. But that isn’t required for designated agency. A designated, or appointed, agent will give you full representation and represent your best interests.

5. Nonagency relationship
In some states, you can choose not to be represented by an agent. That’s referred to as nonagency or working with a transaction broker or facilitator. In general, in nonagency representation, the real estate professional you work with owes you fewer duties than a traditional agency relationship. And those duties vary from state to state. Ask the person you’re working with to explain what he or she will and won’t do for you.

Other web resources
More on real estate agents’ roles (http://www.dllr.state.md.us/license/mrec/mrecrep.shtml)

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who zealously protected her clients’ interests as a lawyer. A frequent contributor to many national publications, including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Fannie, Freddie may cut loan limits, pushing borrowers to jumbos

Borrowers are already expected to face a challenging lending environment in 2014, and potentially adding to the challenges is a reduction in loan maximums next spring. Simply put, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are considering reducing the maximum size of home loans that they can acquire. Critics argue that if borrowers aren’t already concerned about the maximum loan amount being cut next year, they should be because under the revised limits, they may have to pursue a jumbo mortgage. By pushing eligible loan amounts downward, many buyers could find themselves unexpectedly in the jumbo arena.

Making sense of the story

  • In the jumbo area, the bar is far higher for minimum credit scores and financial reserve requirements. In addition, down payments typically must be much larger.
  • Critics also suggest such borrowers may also have to settle for an adjustable-rate mortgage rather than a fixed-rate mortgage, or they may need a higher-rate “piggyback” second mortgage.
  • A potential reduction in loan maximums stems from desires to lessen federal involvement in the mortgage market. Edward J. DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, announced that he was seriously considering the strategy.
  • Industry analysts suggest the maximum Fannie-Freddie loan size could decrease from the current $417,000 to $400,000 in most parts of the country. For high-cost areas, such as coastal California, there could be a reduction from $625,500 to $600,000.
  • These decreased limits could take effect as early as May, which could particularly affect buyers who want to purchase newly built houses, or homes with prices above the average for their areas.
  • If the loan ceilings are lowered, jumbo mortgages could become a bigger piece of the market. Since they are larger than conventional mortgages, they range from just above $417,000 to seven figures. Jumbos also typically have extra costs and underwriting restrictions.

Source: The LA Times

Read the full story

Talking Points …

  • Double-digit home price appreciation will continue to occur but will drop off by the end of 2014, according to the latest CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes. Increased housing construction and increases in existing inventories are expected to restrain price appreciation even if demand remains strong.
  • National home prices were up 10.1 percent year over year in the second quarter, and the index predicts prices will rise 3.4 percent over the next five years. Currently, prices are rising in almost 90 percent of the nation’s metro areas.
  • For metros with populations exceeding 950,000, CoreLogic Case-Shiller found that metros with the greatest annual price appreciation in the second quarter were in California. In fact, Sacramento experienced the greatest price growth at 25.9 percent.
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