Monday, July 25, 2011

Manhattan Beach-Beach Cities... Conforming loan limits going down

On October 1, 2011 a lot of folks in the Manhattan Beach-Beach Cities real estate market are going to be very upset. That is the day the FEDS have targeted to lower the conforming loan limit from the current $729,750 to $625,000. The downward shift in the conforming limits isn't just going to affect buyers but also homeowners who have been waiting to refinance their existing loans.

If you haven't filled out loan documents by August 15, 2011 you may not be able to take advantage of the current conforming limits for your loan. In fact Bank of America is no longer making conforming loans over $625,000 even thought the official cutoff date is September 30, 2011.

So how will the decrease in conforming limits affect you?

Manhattan Beach-Beach Cities Homeowners:
Many homeowners have been waiting to see how low interest rates will go before they refinance to take advantage of lower rates. If you purchased your home a few years ago with a loan amount of $729,750 and want to refinance... DO IT NOW! If you wait and your loan amount is over $625,000 you will have to take out a jumbo loan which may have tougher guidelines and will certainly have a higher interest rate.

South Bay-Beach Cities Buyers:
For many buyers in the Manhattan Beach-Beach Cities the lower loan limits mean they are going to have to get a jumbo loan to buy the same property they could have purchased a few months ago with a conforming loan or come up with a significantly higher down payment. That means tougher qualifying guidelines and a slightly higher interest rate. As an example;e a buyer looking at a $900,000 purchase price today would be able to purchase with 20% ($180,000) down and a loan of about $720,000. When the conforming limits change a buyer would need to come up with slightly more than 30% ($275,000) down for a conforming loan of $625,000 to purchase the same property.

There are a lot of folks trying to get the FEDS to leave conforming levels where they are for at lease another year for the higher priced areas of the country. However I don't think it will happen. There is a bit of good news. More lenders willing to make jumbo loans are stepping into the market. Also the difference in rates for conforming and jumbo are fairly close... conforming fixed are about 4.6%-4.75% and jumbo rates are 5.125%-5.5%. However that could change if Congress doesn't stop playing King of the Hill with each other and the administration.

The boys in D.C. lament the fact that housing continues to be an issue in most of the country, yet they can't seem to understand that much of the fault lies at their doorstep. There is a new guideline/rule/formula change every few months as the government tries to put the horse back in the barn that burned down. If the folks in D.C. want to see housing markets make a comeback they need to leave the process alone for awhile and let things settle. Ultimately local real estate markets will find their way through the muddle if folks aren't waiting on a daily basis to see what the next new thing will be.

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