If you’re a buyer or seller on the fence about making a move, October 1st could be a game changing date.
Starting October 1, 2011 “Conforming” (think Fannie and Freddie) and FHA loan limits are set to be lowered nationwide as the federal government looks to lessen its footprint in the business. This means the current loan limit of $729,750 in Los Angeles that we’ve gotten used to in the past several years will be reduced to $625,000 this fall. So why does that matter to you? Since most buyers rely on the low rates, smaller down payment requirements and the easier underwriting guidelines offered by these government backed loans, the market is going to lose a tremendous amount of its purchasing power. When purchasing power decreases it puts downward pressure on sale prices. For sellers in certain price ranges this means less qualified buyers this fall. For buyers this will put many properties out of reach. For example: With the conforming loan limit at the current $729k the average buyer with 20% down payment can buy a $910,000 house. When the conforming loan limit decreases back to $625k, the average buyer with 20% down payment can only buy a $780,000 house using conforming financing. Today an FHA buyer with the minimum 3.5% down payment has the power to buy a $755,000 property. After October that max purchase price drops to $646,000. If you’re planning on buying or selling you may want to accelerate your timeline. Of course there is and will continue to be financing far above these loan limits. However, these “non-conforming” or JUMBO loans may have higher interest rates, are more difficult to qualify for, require a larger down payment, and require more post closing cash reserves by the borrower.
It’s also important for you to know that this is not being backed by the government so in turn the Jumbo loan product varies significantly from one bank to the next and one lender to another. It is not “one size fits all” when it comes to jumbo loans. That’s why it is so important to have a mortgage consultant who is skilled in jumbo financing, not only understanding the different programs and guidelines but having access to all of those choices. Please don’t hesitate to call for any additional information on these upcoming changes or any property sales questions you may have.