Monday, February 18, 2008

New loan rates up in the air for those trying to refinance


The economical stimulation measure that President Shrub signed Wednesday have plunged people who are trying to purchase or refinance an expensive place into elephantine limbo.

The measure raises the upper limit mortgage that tin be purchased by sureties Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Today that bounds is $417,000 across the continental United States. Anything below that bounds is called a conforming loan; anything above it is a jumbo.

Right now, jumbo-loan rates are almost one per centum point higher than conforming-loan rates. Normally, the difference is around 0.25 per centum point, but the horror show in the recognition marketplaces have made investors afraid to purchase mortgages not guaranteed by Fannie or Freddie. That have driven up the cost of jumbos relative to conforming loans.

The measure seeks to relieve this job by increasing the conforming loan bounds to 125 percentage of each area's median value place price, with a flooring of $417,000 and a ceiling of $729,750. The upper bounds probably will use to most Bay Area counties except Napa, Sonoma and Solano. The higher bounds are put to run out at the end of 2008.

When Fannie and Freddie start purchasing these newly conforming loans, they should go cheaper than jumbos, but that probably won't go on until early April.

That's creating a quandary for people like Gary Edmunds.

"My married woman and I just went into escrow on a place in Marin, and a conforming charge per unit on our loan of $720,000 would be obviously a batch better than the current over-inflated elephantine rates," Edmunds says.

"How long make you believe it will be before loaners follow these new limits, and when they do, how make you see them implementing them?" he asks. "I've heard some narratives of tiered rates, where folks under the old cap of $417,000 will still acquire the best conforming rate, but the charge per unit will leap incrementally as you near the new $729,750 ceiling."

Edmunds and his wife, Tracee, are supposed to fold escrow March 25, so the new loans will probably get too late for them.

But even if the couple could prorogue closing, the new loans still might not be as inexpensive as conforming loans below $417,000. And there's no warrant they would measure up for one, states their mortgage broker, George C. Scott John Webster of Marin Financial Group.

"We can't pin down our hopes on this," John Webster states he told them. Other criteria

Size is just one factor that finds whether Fannie and Freddie can buy and warrant a loan.

They also necessitate borrowers to document their income and assets and have got a certain combination of recognition score, down payment and debt-to-income.

Fannie and Freddie could necessitate stricter criteria on loans over $417,000 than they make on loans under that amount, to counterbalance for potentially higher risk. Or they could bear down a higher fee on the larger loans, which would be passed along to borrowers as a higher charge per unit or higher fees. Neither company have said what criteria they will necessitate on the new loans.

The cost to borrowers also will depend on investor demand for these newly conforming loans, which haven't been named yet.

Julian Hebron, somes frailty president with revolutions per minute Mortgage, names them super-conforming, a takeoff on the term superjumbo, which uses to extra-large mortgages such as as those over $1 million. They often be more than than regular jumbos. By the same token, super-conforming mightiness be more than than regular conforming loans.

In a memorandum to brokers, an executive director with SunTrust Mortgage states he anticipates the newly conforming loans initially might be priced a one-half per centum point higher than loans below $417,000.

Freddie Macintosh states it hasn't decided whether it will buy all types of loans under the new bounds - such as as fixed-rate, adjustable-rate and interest-only - or only some. Fannie didn't go back calls.

There's a good opportunity Fannie and Freddie will necessitate super-conforming loans to be on places that are proprietor occupied.

The stimulation measure is supposed to promote loaning by letting Banks sell elephantine loans to Fannie and Freddie, freeing up working capital so they can do more than loans. But for now it's having the antonym effect.

"I have got a batch of loans that normally should be closed by now," John Webster says. The new law "is making it hard for people to draw the trigger."

Webster states some loaners are not eager to do new jumbos (and thus are pricing them higher) because they're afraid borrowers will refinance them as soon as the new loans go available. The timeline

The stimulation bill, HR5140, necessitates the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to print a listing of the new conforming loan bounds by March 14.

"We be after to have got it out in early March," states Lemar Wooley, a spokesman for the department.

He states the new bounds will be based on the median value place terms in the county where the place is located, except for places that prevarication in multi-county Metropolitan Statistical Areas. In those MSAs, the bounds will be pegged to the highest-cost county.

The San Francisco MSA includes San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa counties. January median value terms in these counties ranged from $487,750 in Contra Costa to $845,000 in Marin, according to Dataquick.

Thanks to Marin, the bounds for the full San Francisco MSA should be $729,750.

HUD bes after to utilize the newest place terms available, but have not disclosed what information it will use.

Freddie Macintosh anticipates to begin purchasing the newly conforming loans "about a calendar month after Department of Housing and Urban Development finds the subway countries that are affected," states Freddie Macintosh spokesman Doug Duvall.

Freddie first have got to develop systems to manage tons of new terms ceilings and probably will have to raise new working capital before it can purchase tons of big, new loans. What to do?

Where makes this leave of absence borrowers? If you're thinking about refinancing a mortgage that would fall under the new limits, it's probably deserving waiting, at least until more than inside information are known.

Of course, waiting is not without risk. Mortgage rates are pretty low right now. If they hit up in the adjacent calendar month or two, you could lose whatever advantage you might acquire from holding out for a conforming loan. There's also a opportunity loaners will go on to fasten their recognition demands so much that you no longer measure up for a loan. And once the new loans come up out, you will probably have got to acquire in line with tons of other eager borrowers.

Buying a place is trickier. If you wait to do an offer, "you could be usurped by another buyer," states Keith Gumbinger, a frailty president with HSH Associates.

His advice: "If you have got establish a place you love and a mortgage you can afford, travel on and do the trade work."

Ask if the marketer will hold to detain the stopping point of escrow until early April or later. Hebron states he have been talking to existent estate agents about authorship purchase offerings with a 30-day funding contingency, with financing being contingent upon the purchaser obtaining a super-conforming loan.

If you acquire a elephantine loan now, you might be able to refinance into a newly conforming loan at a less rate. Brand certain you won't owe a prepayment punishment on the elephantine loan, and inquire if your agent will relinquish his fee if you refinance with him within a few months. You still might have got to pay other fees - for escrow, statute title coverage and assessment - on the new loan.

Be aware that some loaners might resist at refinancing a brand-new loan.

"Generally, if we don't ain the loan, we necessitate a borrower to have got been in the loan for 12 calendar months before refinancing," Freddie Mac's Duvall says. "However, if we already ain the mortgage, then there is no 'seasoning' requirement."

As for Edmunds, he probably will travel ahead with his purchase. "We love the house. We are ill of looking at houses," he says. Federal Soldier Housing Administration loans

Borrowers who will fall under the new bounds but can't ran into other demands for a conforming loan should see a Federal Housing Administration mortgage. The stimulation measure raises the maximum-size loan that tin be insured by Federal Housing Administration to the same higher bounds that volition use to Fannie and Freddie.

FHA have more than indulgent underwriting criteria than Fannie and Freddie. But until now, its loan bounds were so much less that Federal Housing Administration loans were almost nonexistent in the Bay Area.

Most major Banks and many mortgage agents can do Federal Housing Administration loans. The downside is that borrowers must pay a 1.5 percentage fee, which travels into a monetary fund that warrants Federal Housing Administration loans.

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