FHFA Announces “New” Conforming Loan Limits

    This is old news to some, however clients are still asking me about the new loan limits… Here’s the run down:

    The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on Friday announced that the “new” conforming loan limit for 2009 will remain at $417,000 for most areas in the U.S., unchanged since 2006. Loan limits for high-cost areas, including California, are capped at $625,500, down from the previous $729,750 limit. Loan limits for many areas of the state do not reach this lower threshold and are dramatically reduced from 2008.

    “Although price declines mean that the total number of homes eligible for conforming financing has increased, we’re disappointed that the $729,750 limit stipulated in the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 signed in February was not made permanent,” said 2008 CAR President William E. Brown. “The reduction in the loan limit to $625,500 will negatively impact both the interest rates and the availability of funds for jumbo mortgages. We hope Congress will make the $729,750 limit permanent before the end of the year as one of the provisions in an economic stimulus package.”

    The conforming loan limit determines the maximum size of a mortgage that Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy or guarantee. Non-conforming or jumbo loans typically carry a higher mortgage interest rate than a conforming loan, increasing the monthly payment and negatively impacting affordability for households in California.

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