For just the second time since the housing crisis, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has agreed to raise the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
That means VA loan limits have gone up too. In 2018, limits for VA loans match conventional limits published by FHFA.
For much of the country, the $Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limit has been the norm for the past year.
In 2018, the limit increased to $453,100, for single-family homes. The limit has remained subdued in recent years because no increase could legally be approved unless housing prices recovered to pre-crisis levels.
Big Increase Reason For Big Celebration
And that’s the real reason this increase is a big deal.
FHFA analysts have said that until now, the average U.S. housing value remained largely stuck. No matter what real estate agents claimed, the market was not happy, and overall prices did not beat those of third quarter 2007 — the “official” pre-implosion price level.
But as of today, the Home Price Index shows clearly that average home prices have blown through those of Q3 2007, and that conforming loan limits can be increased.
While the conforming loan limits for much of the country will increase to $453,100, more expensive places get an increase, too.
Limits for so-called “high-cost areas,” where 115 percent of the local median home value exceeds the base loan limit, will also increase where merited.
The new limit, which applies in areas with the most high-end markets, will be up to $679,650.
Jumbo Homeowners Benefit Too
Homeowners with so-called “jumbo” mortgages may be soon able to refinance to lower mortgage rates, even though today’s conforming rates are higher than they were prior to the 2016 election.
That’s because loan amounts that previously fell into the (usually) more expensive non-conforming range might now be considered conforming — acceptable for purchase by government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
William Brown, the president of the National Association of Realtors, told HousingWire that this is long overdue.
“Today’s conforming loan limit increase is a much-needed recognition of rising home prices in high-cost markets, and a help to first-time and lower-income borrowers looking to utilize an FHA mortgage.
Credit remains tight, but this decision will help more qualified buyers address the hurdles and high costs standing between them and the dream of homeownership.”
What Are Today’s VA Mortgage Rates?
Whether you’re refinancing a jumbo home loan in 2018 or looking to buy a new home today, your mortgage rate depends on your property location as well as other factors. Check with a lender now to see what’s available to you.