Conforming/FHA Jumbo Limit to Decrease January 1, 2009

November 7, 2008 Update: FHFA has announced the new conforming jumbo loan limits for 2009 which are based on a lower median home price than used here (which was 2008’s limits).  Based on these figures, a single family unit will be $506,000 for King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties.  Read more here.

Recent legislation, HR 3221 included what the new conforming loan limits will be.  Our conforming-jumbo limits will be rolled back slightly to the following effective for all mortgage loans not closed December 31, 2008.   Here’s what the new limits will be effective January 1, 2009 (based on HUD’s current median home prices at the time of this post):

King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties:

Single Family:  $506,000 $522,100 ($567,500 until 12/31/2008)

Two Family:  $668,350 ($726,500 until 12/31/2008)

Three Family: $807,850 ($878,150 until 12/31/2008)

Four Family: $1,004,000 ($1,091,350 until 12/31/2008)

Kitsap County:

Single Family:  $437,000 ($475,000 until 12/31/2008)

Two Family:  $559,450 ($608,100 until 12/31/2008)

Three Family:  $676,250 ($735,050 until 12/31/2008)

Four Family:  $840,350 ($913,450 until 12/31/2008)

San Juan County:

Single Family:  $546,250 ($593,750 until 12/31/2008)

Two Family:  $699,250 ($760,100 until 12/31/2008)

Three Family:  $845,250 ($918,800 until 12/31/2008)

Four Family: $1,050,500 ($1,141,850 until 12/31/2008)

Clark and Skamania Counties:

Single Family: $417,000 ($418,750 until 12/31/2008)

Two Family:  $533,850 ($536,050 until 12/31/2008)

Three Family:  $645,300 ($648,000 until 12/31/2008)

Four Family:  $801,950 ($805,300 until 12/31/2008)

Jefferson County:

Single Family:  $417,000 ($437,500 until 12/31/2008)

Two Family:  $533,850 ($560,050 until 12/31/2008)

Three Family:  $645,300 ($677,000 until 12/31/2008)

Four Family:  $801,950 ($841,350 until 12/31/2008)

Watch for my follow up post on what this means to you.

Read my related articles on HR 3221:

First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit

Down Payment Assistance Programs Days are Numbered

How Much Home Can You Buy with $17,550 Down

I’m taking a brief blogging break.  This is a reprint from Rain City Guide.  To read the original post and 100 plus comments, click here.

My purpose for this post is to hit it home what a great window of opportunity we have with FHA Jumbo windowmortgages which are only around until December 31, 2008 unless Congress passes an extension of some sort (which is a possibility-but not guaranteed).

For the remainder of this year, you can use $17,550 to buy a home priced at $585,000 using FHA Jumbo with 3% down.    FHA requires the buyer to invest 3% into the transaction (which can be a qualified gift).  3% of $585,000 = $17,550.  (With roughly 5% down, utilizing FHA Jumbo, you can puchase a home for $600,000).  The Seller can contribute up to 6% towards closing costs and prepaids as long as the buyers 3% required investment is met.  With this scenario, the Seller is contributing around $14,000.   The loan amount is just under the maximum allowed FHA Jumbo for King, Snohomish and Pierce County of $567,500.   

With FHA there are no income limitations and much easier on credit scoring than conventional mortgages which ding you if your score is 719 or lower.   Effective January 1, 2008 2009 (as things currently stand) the FHA loan limit will be reduced to their actual loan limit of $362,790 for King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties. 

Of course, you’re not limited to FHA if you only have around $17,550.  There’s also Fannie Mae Flex (someone please knock on wood fast before Fannie shelves decides to put this product on the shelf) which allows lower down payment–currently as low as 97%.  However the highest loan amount allowed is the true conforming of $417,000.   Utilizing a Fannie Flex program, you could purchase a home priced around $434,000 with the seller contributing about $12,000 towards your closing costs and prepaids.

So we’re talking $585,000 sales price using FHA Jumbo (while supplies last!) or $434,000 with Fannie Flex97 (while this product is still available) if you have $17,550 for a down payment.   Can you see why I’m so crazy about FHA Jumbo?  This is a window of opportunity for those who qualify for the payment but may be shy on the down payment that’s scheduled to close on December 31, 2008

Is 5% Down Available for Homes Priced from up to $600,000?

EDITORS NOTE – August 30, 2009: Mortgage guidelines are constantly changing–please make sure to get updated guidelines from a local mortgage professional.  This post was written under DU 7.0 and at this time, we are utilizing Fannie Mae/DU Version 7.1.

In King, Snohomish and Pierce County, FHA Jumbo will allow you to put 3% down as long as your loan amount is $567,500 or below.   The buyer's required investment is 3% of the sales price (which can be gifted from a family member) and the seller can contribute up to 6%.   Utilizing a FHA Jumbo, one could by $585,000 with as little as 3% down or up to around $595,000 with 5% down and still be within the FHA loan limits.  The debt to income ratios are typically around 43%.   Click here for more information on FHA Jumbo.

At 5% down with a sales price of $585,000, the FHA scenario would look like this:

Principal and interest @ 6.375% (APR 7.140%): $3,514.50 plus monthly mortgage insurance of $231.56 for a sub-total (not including taxes and home owners insurance) of: $3,746.06.

Amount needed to close estimated at $43,000.  Buyer required investment = $17,550 (3% which can be gifted from a family member).

A conforming-jumbo will allow a 90% loan to value but good luck finding a second mortgage that will accommodate that–most second mortgages are limiting their total loan to value of 85%.  Private mortgage insurance is an option up to 90% loan to value with a loan amount of $567,500.  With a sales price of $600,000, 10% down would provide a loan amount of $540,000.   At 10% down, the seller can contribute up to 6% as long as the buyer has invested a minimum of 5% of their own funds into the transaction

Principal and interest @ 6.125% (APR 6.373%): $4,555.10 $3,281.10 plus monthly mortgage insurance in the amount of $316.85 for a sub-total (not including taxes and home owners insurance) of: $4,871.95 $3,597.95.

Amount needed to close estimated at $73,000.  Buyers required investment: $30,000 (5% which must be their own funds–gifts from family not included in the 5% down).

Fannie Mae just released DU 7.0 which promises to provide fewer loan approvals and more "expanded approvals".  Before 7.0, 45% was the maximum debt to income ratio. This new version was released on May 31, 2008.

Note:  Both scenarios are assuming mid-credit scores of 720 or better.  A 719 will cause the rate to be 0.125% higher for the jumbo-conforming example or to cost 0.500% more in fee.   For FHA, the rate would remain the same with a 719 score (and down to a 620 mid score).

I think you'll agree that we'll be seeing more FHA approved buyers than before…this is why Sellers and Real Estate Agents should learn more about FHA and be open to FHA buyers…it's not the FHA of yesteryear in fact, FHA is the future.

I Love Checking Out ARMs: Reviewing An Existing Mortgage

Recently a friend approached me confessing to having one of those "awful adjustable mortgages"…she thinks she needs to refinance and take advantage of today’s lower rates.   Before assuming that someone "needs" to refinance, I like to review their current mortgage and what their financial goals are.  Sometimes, people do not need to refinance…they just need to understand their mortgage terms.

Current Mortgage:  P&I Payment $3,330 (original balance $520,000).

  • 7/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgage: Note Rate 6.625%
  • Caps: 2/2/5
  • Margin: 2.25
  • Index: 1 Year LIBOR (currently 2.637% as of this the date of this post).

There is approx. 65 months remaining with the fixed period rate of 6.625% before the mortgage adjusts.   When the mortgage adjusts, the new rate will be 2.25% plus the current 1 year LIBOR rate EXCEPT the rate will be no lower than 4.625% and no higher than 8.625% due to the 2% adjustment cap. 

Best case scenario at first adjustment date with current mortgage:

Rate: 4.625% with principal and interest payments for 12 months of $2,780.   Note: If the mortgage was adjusting today, the rate would be closer to the best case scenario at 4.875% (2.25% plus 2.637% = 4.887% rounded to the nearest 0.125%).  Alas…they have 65 more months before knowing what the going rate for the 1 Year LIBOR will be.

Worse case scenario at first adjustment date with current mortgage:

Rate:  8.625% with principal and interest payments for 12 months of $3,937.

Possible scenarios that I suggested:

Refinancing into a conforming-jumbo mortgage 30 year fixed at 6.375%.  This would provide a principal and interest payment of $3,232.   With closing costs at $2900, they will break even on this scenario in 30 months.  From 30 months (the break even point) to when the fixed period of the ARM is over, the savings based on the monthly payment would be $3430.

Restructuring the existing mortgage into two mortgages with a conforming first at $417,000 at 5.875% and second mortgage paying off the balance (they can opt for a fixed second or a HELOC).   With a principal and interest payments of $3,194 and closing costs of $3,200; it will take 24 months to break even on this scenario.   From 24 months to when the fixed period of the ARM is over, the savings based on the difference between the monthly payments would be $5,576. 

LiborcompThis chart, which I created utilizing The Mortgage Coach, is factoring in the 2.25% margin to the LIBOR rate back to January 1999.  You can see there is a significant range with the rate.   Home owners with ARMs based on the LIBOR rate from 2002 to 2004 were probably grinning from ear to ear (depending on what their margin was) when you see what their rate was compared to the 30 year fixed.  Timing is everything with an adjustable rate mortgage.

What ever the home owner decides to do is completely up to them.  Of course one of their options is to not refinance and wait to see what the new rate (LIBOR) will be in 65 months.   If they wound up with a "best case scenario" new payment, it would be pretty sweet however the cost of paying the higher payment for 65 month and we don’t know what the index will be at the date of adjustment.    Understanding your mortgage and knowing your available options just starts with contacting your local Mortgage Professional. 

By the way, if you are a Washington State  home owner who has not heard from your loan originator lately or if you would like me to adopt your mortgage, please contact me.   Many LO’s have left the industry or do not provide service once the loan has closed.  I’m happy to review your ARM (or fixed rate mortgage) without any obligation to refinance. 

Fannie Mae Clarifies Conforming Jumbo Guideline for Refi’s

Great news!  I just received a memo from Fannie Mae clarifying that they will now allow purchase money second mortgages to be included in a conforming-jumbo refinance and to be treated as "limited cash out".   Previously, purchase money second mortgages (piggy back mortgages used for financing when you purchased your home) were going to be considered "cash out" and not allowed with the temporary conforming jumbos

In a nutshell, this means that if you have combined loan amounts up to $567,500 for King, Pierce or Snohomish counties, and the mortgages being paid off are from when you purchased your home, this is now a doable refinance utilizing a conforming jumbo mortgage (subject to credit scores, loan to value, documentation…etc.).   

A little easing will help many home owners who were hoping to consolidate their mortgages.

? of the Day: Could you tell me when the increase in conforming loan limits will go into effect?

I was emailed this question today:

Could you tell me when the increase in conforming loan limits will go into effect?

Believe it or not, the temporary increase in conforming loan limits is in effect.  In fact, it’s retro-active to July 2007.  Why?  This is so that Fannie and Freddie can provide some relief to Wall Street by being able to purchase loans over the true conforming limit of $417,000.   Investors have lost their appetite for jumbo mortgages, regardless of how great the borrower is, these loans did not have Fannie or Freddie’s backing.  Now that they will, we should hopefully see some relief as far as lower rates from lenders for jumbo mortgages.   The higher rates we have been seeing lately with non-conforming (jumbo) mortgages was to try to sweeten the pot on Wall Street. 

Lenders are being slow coming out with their pricing.   The first one I wrote about came out swinging with some very high "hits" to price.  I’m now beginning to see others just starting to appear with better pricing.  As more lenders enter the conforming-jumbo and fha-jumbo markets (i.e. competition), we may see rates improve.

Stay tuned!  I’ll be posting rates tomorrow.

New Conforming Loan Limit Won’t Help Refi’s w/2nds…FHA May Save the Day

Fannie Mae’s underwriting guidelines for the temporary conforming loan limits have been released and it looks like the new loan amounts are not going to be as helpful as many had hoped.   The new guidelines for loan amounts between $417,001 – $567,500 in King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties are far more strict.

The biggest whammy is that if you were hoping to combine your first and second mortgage (or heloc) into one new conforming-jumbo mortgage, you’re out of luck.  Fannie is not allowing any "cash out" refinances.  This means that even if you were just paying off the two mortgages and not receiving a nickle back at closing–it’s not going to fly. 

You must have a minimum of 660 credit scores for a fixed rate purchase for a LTV of 80% or less for a purchase using a fixed or adjustable rate.

Limited cash out refinances are allowed up to 75% loan to value with a minimum 660 credit score.  Limited cash-out means that you are allowed to roll in the closing costs to the refinance and receive no more than $2000 cash back at closing (no second mortgages/helocs can be included in the refinance).

Update:  it appears that Freddie Mac will allow cash out refinances up to a 75% loan to value with a 720 minimum credit score.

Adjustable rate mortgages are qualified at the fully amortized PITI at the higher of the note rate or fully indexed rate (worse case rate). 

Be prepared for a "full doc" mortgage.  There is no "stated income" allowed.   You will also need two months of reserves (PITI) and are limited to a 45% DTI (debt to income) ratio.

You can only have four financed properties, including your principal residence.

On Monday, I believe lenders will finally unveil pricing…which again is said to not be as exciting as consumers had hoped.  I’m hearing that the rates will fall between current Jumbo and conforming.   

Rumor has it that the FHA-jumbo will be more friendly to "jumbo" homeowners…if they can get over paying the upfront MIP (1.5% of your loan amount) and monthly mortgage insurance (0.5% of your loan amount/12 months).   For example, on a $500,000 loan amount, the upfront MIP would be $7500 (typically financed into the loan) plus monthly mortgage insurance in the amount of $208.33…even if you have an 80% loan to value.  We’ll just have to wait and see a couple more days.

Remember, these loan limits only last through December 31, 2008.

More to follow. 

Quick 4-1-1 on Jumbo Loan-Conforming Loan Limit Increase

I’m noticing that a lot of Mortgage Porter readers are finding my by googling various terms to learn more about when and how the conforming loan limits will be increased.

Here’s what I know (and what I’m speculating) so far:

I’ve heard that President Bush will be signing the bill into law this Wednesday.  Then HUD has 30 days to publish what the median home prices are for various areas.  The new conforming loan limit will be based on 125% of those values.

It’s estimated in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area, our new loan limit will be just shy of $500,000. 

While this process is taking place, Fannie and Freddie need to figure out how they’re going to deal with this influx of new business.  Underwriting guidelines will need to be considered and distributed to lenders.  Also, I will eat a shoe if there are no "add to rate" to loan amounts $417,001 and over.   I’m estimating the add will be 0.25% – 0.50% to the now conforming rate.   For example, if your loan amount is $417,000 your rate for a 30 year fixed could be 5.500% – if your loan amount is $417,001 your rate would be 5.75% – 6.00%.   This is still more attractive than what the current jumbo rates are.

Remember, the increase to the conforming loan limit is temporary.  It is currently only valid through the end of 2008.  Who knows, maybe Congress will extend it as they have the PMI deduction if they see it as a benefit to the American economy.

You can see this process will take a little time.  I’m assuming that Fannie and Freddie are diligently working on the guidelines/pricing issues and not waiting for HUD’s home value information.   Even so, it could very well be some time in March before this all takes place.

Stay tuned!