If you have been keeping up with the real estate news, you may know that the mortgage loan limits on jumbo mortgage loans set by Congress are about to change. A jumbo mortgage is one that must be eligible to sell to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and it exceeds the amount of a conventional conforming limit. Depending on where you live, the upcoming lower loan limits could impact you. Beginning on October 1, 2011 the mortgage loan limits for homes across the entire country will be $625,500.
Currently, the maximum amount for jumbo mortgage loans is anywhere between $417,000 and $729,750. The maximum limit is determined by a couple factors, including the region of the country in which you live. Major metropolitan areas, where home prices are higher, today have limits closer to $729,750.
There are many people who will be affected by the new limits. Any homeowner who owns a home valued between $417,000 and $729,750 and wants to refinance is going to be affected by these new limits. There will be tighter credit restrictions and possibly even higher mortgage rates for homes that are valued above the new $625,000 maximum.
Any home buyer who wants to buy a home priced above the new maximum is also definitely going to be affected. Currently, jumbo mortgage loan rates are often lower than traditional mortgage rates and qualified buyers can put as little as 3.25 percent down to purchase the home. But with the new caps, mortgage rates are going to increase and home buyers will need to put down a much larger payment for the home. The down payment requirements could be as high as 20 percent.
Some of the bigger cities with higher home prices will definitely feel the punch. Places like New York City, San Francisco, Miami and Los Angeles where homes are typically priced in the jumbo mortgage loan range will see some effect from the lowered maximums. According to the National Association of Home Builders, nearly 1.4 million owner-occupied homes in more than 200 counties across the county will be valued above the $625,500 jumbo loan limit.
BestJumboRate.Com said that they are reaching out to clients who will be affected to alert them of the new guidelines. Most people simply don’t know about the new limits or the October 1 deadline for imposing the new limits.
Before criticizing the reduction, though, consider this: The Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, raised the limits for a jumbo loan in 2008. This increase in limits was only supposed to be temporary. Since 2008, the higher limit caps have been renewed each year. As of right now, those limits are set to expire on September 30, 2011. It is not like the federal government with taking action to lower the limits; rather, legislative inaction would result in the current limits expiring and reversion to the old limits.
So what does this mean for you? If you are thinking of refinancing your jumbo mortgage loan or taking out a jumbo loan to purchase an upper-end home, now may be the best time to initiate the process. The opportunity to capture a government insured rate that is often .25-.50% lower than a traditional jumbo mortgage loan won't be able if you wait until after September 30.