Fresh on the heels of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac increasing their loan limits, the FHA has followed suit.
FHA has become one of the go to loan products for first time home buyers, those with low down payments, and those with credit challenges. It is a great product for many people in that not only does it allow one to buy (or refinance) with they otherwise might not be able to, since every FHA loan is insured against default investors love them and the interest rate is generally lower than many other options!
The maximum loan limit on an FHA loan in Placer, Sacramento, Yolo, and El Dorado Counties is now $488,750. This matches the “high balance” loan limit for Conforming loans (those backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) in these counties announced last week.
Good news on the loan front! For the first time in a decade Conforming loan limits have increased, offering a little bit of relief and flexibility for borrowers that otherwise would be stuck exhausting more of their resources on a larger down payment, or forced into the Jumbo market.
The new Conforming loan limit for California: $424,100…. High Balance Limit in Placer, Sacramento, Yolo, and El Dorado Counties: $488,750
Each is an increase that will make a difference in the required down payment for people who’s loan amount would have been capped at $417,000 or $474,950, increasing the standard limit by $7,100, and the high balance limit for the 4 counties in the Sacramento area by $13,800.
Some higher cost counties, such as in the Bay Area and Southern California, see the high balance limit increasing to $636,150 (from $625,500).
There is no information yet on if this will affect FHA loam limits in any way (historically FHA has adjusted their limits with Fannie and Freddie in most, but not all, counties)
Today, in our industry, we already do pretty much everything electronically. Pretty much…
But there is a lot of paperwork that still has to be received from the borrower, not to mention signing what seems like hundreds of pages at closing. Due to recent statements by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as some new “eNotary” features on the horizon, that could all be changing.
The first and most important part of this is the suite of new tools GSE’s Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are soon to be rolling out to lenders. These tools include things like automated appraisals on certain loans, automatic income verification for most W2 borrowers, and automated asset verification. When applicable these new tools will allow less documentation to have to be faxed/e-mailed to the lender, as well as less time to close, and savings to both the lender and the borrower (especially when the automated appraisal applies).
With these tools Fannie and Freddie are offering some relief from “reps and warrants”, which will create more certainty on the part of the lender and MBS (Mortgage Backed Securities) investors. This should reduce costs for lenders, reduce risk for MBS investors, and (theoretically anyways) should result in shorter loan processing times, lower cost mortgages, and possibly even lower interest rates than otherwise would be able to be offered if these reforms were not implemented.
The automated appraisal will not apply to everyone, nor will the automated income verification (it will not work for self-employed people, for example), but it should result in some documentation relief for most applying for a Conventional mortgage. FHA has no comment. 🙂
The “eNotary” thing is a little further out, beta programs are just beginning, but with the new rules the Fannie and Freddie tools they’re also going to be allowing a fully digital closings, where a notary creates an electronic signature and stamp and all the borrower has to do is click a screen, rather than sign over and over and over again.
Everything will be rolling out in the near future. Of course I will be keeping everyone updated as to the news. This is a VERY big deal when it comes to both the real estate and mortgage industry as it will undoubtedly result in faster loan closings on both purchase and refinance loans, and decreased costs to buyers/homeowners.
Today President Obama announced a plan for some pretty major changes at FHA that will make mortgages more affordable and accessible to creditworthy families. The most important of which, in my opinion, is the reduction of the annual FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) by 0.5%.
As many of you know the FHA MIP has been the highest it has ever been for about the last year and a half. On a 30 year fixed FHA mortgage with a 3.5% down payment the MIP was 1.35%. Drastically affecting affordability on FHA loans as this MIP factor increased payments for new FHA borrowers significantly, making the MIP portion of the payment as much as 25% of the mortgage payment itself.
This was due in part because the FHA Insurance fund, the fund that since its inception in 1934 pays out claims to investors when FHA borrowers default, was below capital reserve levels required by congress due to losses sustained on FHA mortgages originated from 2005-2009 (contrary to what many politicians and media outlets reported, the fund was NOT in the negative and never required a bail out, but the fund has less than the preferred capital reserve percentage).
Also in part due to the fact that many in congress wanted to steer the market away from government loan programs and back to conventional loans (that, for better or worse, are still backed by the US government, go figure). The idea being that with FHA being more and more expensive, it would be less and less attractive.
As a result the FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance fund is in better shape and conventional financing is a larger part of the market than it has been since the mid 2000’s.
But it isn’t as sweet as it sounds. The MMI fund would have repaired itself without huge increases in the MIP homeowners pay every month as the loans giving the fund issues were all from a 4 year period of 2005-2009, immediately preceding the recession and housing meltdown (interestingly enough though FHA loans still outperformed all other loan types during that period and defaults were relatively low in comparison to conventional/Jumbo), and they are mostly off the books via foreclosure or short sale already. The most recent 4 years of FHA originations are the highest quality loans the agency has ever seen (this is the same for conventional and Jumbo) as well. And both the economy and housing market have been damaged in multiple ways, seeing those that do get an FHA loan have less money in their pocket every month due to the historically high MIP, and also keeping many people from not being to be able to buy at all.
After Obama’s statement today helps fix the damage being done to FHA borrowers the new annual MIP on a 30 Year Fixed with 3.5% down will soon be 0.85%, down from 1.35%. On a $350,000 home in Roseville, after factoring in the $12,250 down payment and 1.75% UFMIP, an FHA borrower under the new MIP schedule will save $1,689 a year, or $140.75 a month!
Even though 0.85% is still well above historic norms for FHA’s annual Mortgage Insurance Premium industry estimates show that this will help 800,000 homeowners refinance to a significantly lower mortgage payment, especially seeing that rates right now at near historic lows, and help as many as 250,000 people become homeowners, while continuing to help build reserves in the MMI fund to protect against unforeseen future losses.
As mentioned right off the bat, this is A PLAN. Congress still has to approve the change and predictions are 50/50 as to if they will, with many analysts projecting enough resistance from a number of Republicans that want to see the government having no role in housing what-so-ever, and others in congress that want to wait until 2016 so the MMI fund can acquire reserves more quickly, to derail the plan.
Seeing how well FHA loans originated since 2009 are performing, the increase in health in the MMI reserve fund, the fact that 0.85% is still well above what FHA used to collect, and that FHA MIP premiums are paid for life instead of being able to be removed after 5 years, I can’t see any non-ideological argument against this plan. I supposed we’ll see how this plays out relatively soon.
And welcome 2015! It is going to be a great one!!!
We’ve been waiting and waiting, for years now, for the USDA to change the maps of eligible areas for their popular 100% financing loan program.
Since the 2010 census data became available we’ve known it would be inevitable that the maps will change (and they have given us what the future map will look like, see below) removing Lincoln from the eligible area, but the date for this to happen continually comes and goes with no change.
The use of the future property eligibility maps has again been delayed until Congress passes the 2015 budget, so if your area is eligible on the current maps, it will remain eligible, but don’t ask for how long as no one knows that answer. While you may see December 11th floating around as a date, that is just the date that congress must pass a new budget, vote for another Continuing resolution, or shut down the government.
Bottom line is there is still time to get into contract on a home in a currently eligible area that will no longer be eligible once the new maps take hold (such as Lincoln), but if you are thinking about it there isn’t much more time to make the move. Or is there? Anyone want to bet the move the deadline again?
Last week the Federal Housing Administration, an arm of HUD (the department of Housing and Urban Development) announced a new “Blueprint for Access” that, if implemented, should lower the cost of having an FHA loan as well as make getting an FHA loan a little easier for some home buyers.
The biggest thing here is the HAWK (Homeowners Armed With Knowledge) program which, in exchange for the home buyer sitting through a short homeowner education course, will cut the historically high FHA mortgage insurance premium factors.
Generally speaking FHA loans are great. They tend to have lower rates than conventional loans and are easier to qualify for and get closed. The big issue with FHA is the mortgage insurance and how much it can increase a homeowner’s monthly payment.
However due to the housing “crisis” and recession tied to it HUD had to increase the FHA’s cost of borrowing to re-fund its MMI fund (Mutual Mortgage Insurance fund, which losses on FHA loans are paid to lenders from) that had taken a hit due to defaults and foreclosures in 2008-2012. HUD increased both the up-front fee collected on FHA loans (UFMIP) as well as the annual premium that is paid monthly by FHA borrowers as part of their monthly payment to all-time highs; making new FHA loans more expensive than at any time in their history, despite having lower rates than conventional loans.
The HAWK program will reduce the UFMIP by 50 basis points ($1,750 on a $350,000 FHA loan) as well as the annual MIP by 10 basis points ($30 a month on a $350,000 FHA loan).
For those willing to take additional homeowner courses after closing and make on-time payments for the first two years of the loan FHA will reduce the amount of the annual MIP by an additional 15 basis points (another $42 a month on that $350,000 loan, for a total of a $72 reduction in monthly payment).
Right off the top the HAWK program will save an average Roseville/Rocklin/Lincoln buyer between $1750-2,000 off their total loan amount and $70-100 a month off of their payments after two years compared to an FHA borrower that does not participate!
The detailed guidelines will be posted this summer and the program is slated to roll out in the fall. I’ll let everyone know once the program has been implemented and additional details once they are known…
(916) 412-3313 – firstname.lastname@example.org
A common theme on this blog over the years, “shadow inventory” and the future of distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), is coming up one more time. While conventional wisdom for years has been every bit of good news on the housing front has been a bunch of hype I have been sharing statistics with you that spells out what has actually been happening.
In reality the future foreclosure rate is determined by one thing, one thing most media source and people never mention, people missing their first mortgage payment today. It is as simple s that. If you read this website you know that I share these statistics every few months or so and the number of people missing their mortgage payments has been going down, down, down; and with it the number of foreclosures 6-12 months later.
The nationwide delinquency rate is lower than any time since Q1 2008, the time we began to see cracks in the market but well before the crash happened. This means the foreclosure rate over the next couple years will be lower and lower too. To boot the actual foreclosure start rate is lower than at any time since Q2 2006!
“Shadow inventory,” homes that banks are holding onto or short sales/foreclosures that just haven’t happened yet, the media (and some gloomy Gus’) favorite boogie man is non-existent. The banks have already unloaded their inventory for the most part and home prices have rebounded so much only a small fraction of people still owe more than their home is worth.
I’m sure if you have been in the market to buy or sell a home lately you see that short sales and foreclosures are a very small part of what is out there, when just two years ago they made up the bulk of the market in the greater Sacramento area; including Roseville and Rocklin.
This is all good news!
Senior Mortgage Consultant – 19 Years Experience
As many of you know (and some of you don’t) I felt I had found a career-long home at Innerwork Mortgage a few years ago. When Innerwork was bought out in late 2012 by another company we merged and, of course, we all thought that was going to be for the best but things didn’t work out as planned.
I’m ELATED to announce that I’ve made a move to what I expect to be my home for the next 20 years! At a familiar address, back at the old Innerwork digs, with some of the same players, but with a new banking partner (Roseville-based American Pacific Mortgage).
We’re building a new branch that will be everything the old branch was and SO MUCH MORE! I’m ready to serve the Roseville/Rocklin area like never before and we have some special surprises in store for our real estate partners as well.
Below is a question I received on my website, as well as the answer. For the most part most lenders do a pretty good job of this but sometimes they don’t and you have the power to question them if they think they are collecting too much from you…
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A $100. increase on my 30 year fixed mortgage!!
My loan was originally being serviced by Bank of America when we bought this property 5 1/2 years ago. We have never missed a payment or been late. Last January our loan was sold to Penny Mac for servicing, I have had nothing but problems with this company! The online payment center still won’t let me go all way through to pay, the automated phone payment frequently disconnects me, and usually after six tries when I do get an operator they have a $15.00 fee for helping me, Ugh!! Now my question: Can this company charge me an extra $100. a month because of their annual Account Analyst that has predicted that because of the rising costs of servicing my PITI 30 yr. fixed HUD loan my escrow acct. will be short by $1,300.00? If they can do that, it means that my terms HAVE changed and it is no longer a 30 yr. fixed loan! It’s not my fault that Southern California has an unstable economy, why should I have to pay for that! I tried to go back to B of A and they just sent me an automated form letter. Do I have any legal recource at all?? Please help, the payments are scheduled to start next month. L. B.
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Everything goes back to the original terms of your mortgage. Something you signed at closing (there are different variations of what this document is called) dictates what a lender/servicer can and cannot do when it comes to adjusting your impound account.
Generally speaking they do have the ability to adjust what is needed on the impound portion of your payment on an FHA loan and this does not change the terms of your loan so long as only the impounds are affected. You are however able to challenge this. HUD (the Department of Housing & Urban Development) created rules to make sure lenders are not collecting too much.
The money in your escrow account is YOUR MONEY and is always your money until it is paid out. But the onus is on you to ensure you are not paying too much. As I am not an attorney I can only say so much, but I can share with you a link to HUD’s guidelines in the subject…
Basically lenders/servicers are only allowed to keep up to a maximum of 1/6 of the total cost of taxes and impounds as a “cushion” over and above the amount they collect so they have enough to make the next payment for your taxes or insurance. The issue here is what figure they are basing that calculation on.
From your question it sounds like you believe that is an arbitrary number, or a number based on an estimate of future expenses that may or may not be accurate. If that is actually the case I would think you have a valid complaint.
Your next step would be to make a “qualified written request” to the lender about the amount they are collecting (send it separate from your payment). They then have 20 days to respond and 60 days to resolve the complaint, including providing documentation that shows their calculations and where it is coming from. If they don’t solve it to your satisfaction you can then file a complaint with HUD.
One thing to remember is, if they are right about needing the extra $1,300, homeowners insurance and taxes are YOUR responsibility even if there are impounds on your loan. If they are short $1,300 for taxes next year it is highly likely that you will have to come up with the money all at once to make sure your taxes are paid on time and with no penalty. Some lender/servicers will pay the extra amount on your behalf but they will bill you for the difference and may increase your impounds by double the amount you were short when that was due (say $200 a month instead of $100) to A.) pay them back, and B.) to make sure there is enough so the next payment can be made when that comes around. Hope that helps.
P.S. If values have gone up quite a bit where you live it might make sense to look at a Conventional loan via a refinance. As opposed to an FHA loan you may not have to have impounds on a Conventional loan. You may be able to lower your payment and have the ability to pay your taxes and insurance on your own and not have to worry about the impounds. Something to think about. I get calls every day for people wanting to get out of their FHA loan and into a Conventional.