FHFA Loan Limits

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FHFALast month, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced it will keep the 2015 maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at $417,000 on one-unit properties in most areas and a cap of $625,500 in high-cost areas.  Four California counties even saw an increase in their loan limit due to higher home prices (Monterey from $483,000 to $502,550; Napa from $592,250 to $615,250; San Diego from $546,250 to $562,350; and Ventura from $598,000 to $603,750).

On a related note, in early December, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) also announced its loan limits for 2015, leaving the maximum loan limit in high-cost areas at $625,500 beginning Jan. 1, 2015.  Loan limits were increased in four California counties from their 2014 maximum limits, including Monterey, Napa, San Diego, and Ventura counties.  View loan limits in high-cost areasView loan limits in low-cost areas.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also announced new loan programs that could make it easier for well-qualified, first-time and lower-income home buyers to purchase a home.  Both GSEs will back mortgages with down payments of as low as 3 percent, which will help struggling first-time buyers who are trying to save enough for a down payment.  Fannie Mae’s program, called “My Community Mortgage,” is available to first-time buyers, and eligible homeowners who wish to refinance their Fannie Mae-owned mortgage but don’t qualify under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).  Freddie Mac’s program, called “Home Possible Advantage” is open to first-time buyers and other qualified borrowers with limited down payment savings.  Both programs require private mortgage insurance.  Fannie Mae’s program was effective last weekend, and Freddie Mac’s program will begin in March 2015.

View Fannie Mae’s announcement.

View Freddie Mac’s announcement.

In late November, the FHFA also announced qualified buyers would be allowed to purchase Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac REO properties at current market value, effective Nov. 25, 2014.  Previously, homeowners who went through foreclosure and wanted to buy their homes back had to pay the entire amount owed on the mortgage.  The change also allows a third party to purchase the property on behalf of the previous owner.  View FHFA’s REO announcement.  

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