New Conforming Loan Limits for 2018 are Higher Than Expected

11/29/2017 | Casey Fleming |  The Federal Housing Finance Agency – the FHFA – disclosed the new conforming loan limits for 2018 yesterday, and they went up further than most analysts expected!  It’s great news, as it opens the door to homeownership to more people. Historical Context Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the agencies) were...

Plan to Privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

I’ve been writing for several years that lawmakers have been making a lot of noise – but no progress – on plans to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If you recall, the Bush administration forced the government takeover of the agencies in 2008, saying that their loan loss reserves were too low to sustain...

Will Fannie / Freddie Raise Conforming Loan Limits in 2017?

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (The Agencies, or F / F for shorthand) continue to make the vast majority of loans in the United States.  Each year they set a limit (the conforming loan limit) for the size of loan they will purchase.  As the average price of homes in the U.S. rises the conforming...

HARP Extended – And Replaced

HARP – the Home Affordable Refinance Program offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for high-LTV homeowners – was set to expire at the end of 2016, but has now been extended through September of 2017.  HARP gives responsible homeowners who would otherwise not qualify because their loan-to-value ratio is too high the ability to...

Will Fannie and Freddie Go Away?

Exactly two years ago I wrote a column about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (AKA The Agencies, or GSEs) and the efforts to dismantle them for political reasons.  Fortunately for those who own homes, those who may want to buy homes, and those who sell homes for others, nothing ever came of those efforts –...

Wells Fargo Hit With Another $ Billion+ Settlement

You might think that I revel in the woes of Big Banks too much, but… Oh heck I admit it. But this is fun. Wells Fargo announced today that they have agreed to pay $1.2 Billion to resolve claims against it related to wrongdoing leading up to and during the mortgage crisis. They were accused...

Today is a Big Day for Mortgage Interest Rates

This afternoon the Federal Reserve will release its most recent statement, and then at 2:30 pm EDT Janet Yellen will conduct a press conference about it. Most analysts agree that there will be a subtle but significant change in the wording of the statement – they will remove the word “patient” as it relates to...

FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums to Be Slashed

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that FHA mortgage insurance premiums for loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration will be reduced in order to expand access to affordable home financing to more families. FHA-insured mortgages are loans made by private companies that have a government-funded mortgage insurance policy paid for by the borrower...

It is About to Get Easier to Get a Mortgage

You’ve heard that it’s almost impossible to get a mortgage these days because mortgage underwriting is so crazy. Ben Bernanke was turned down, for goodness sake! What if I told you that might all change in the next few weeks, and it is about to get significantly easier to get a mortgage? Fair warning: this...

Will Conforming Loan Limits Decrease? (An Update)

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac conforming loan limits were likely to be reduced (for the first time in history) by the end of this year as a means to reduce the market share that Fannie / Freddie currently have of mortgage originations nationwide.  The problem, as I...