Just when you thought it was safe to jump back into the mortgage pool, new regulations that officially roll out on Oct. 1 will need to be taken into account before prospective homebuyers take the plunge.
Sellers also are advised to take note of the new mortgage regulations, which could lead to tighter credit availability as lenders start gearing up for lower loan caps.
In a recent attempt to boost the housing market, Congress increased the maximum loan amount that government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could guarantee, to a high of $729,750 in some markets. That made it easier for borrowers in pricier markets to get loans. But as the government begins to gradually reduce its footprint in the housing market, limits on government-backed loans are scheduled to reset to prior levels — a high of $625,500 in some markets — which could lead to higher mortgage rates and more downward pressure on home prices.
Prospective borrowers could face higher mortgage interest rates for loans that exceed the new caps — also called jumbo loans — which would increase the overall cost of owning a home. House hunters might also be drawn to less-expensive properties as a result of the change, which could exacerbate a weakness in the middle-priced segment of the market.
Sellers, too, are likely to feel the impact, meaning that they could find it in their best interest to push down the price of their home to accommodate buyers seeking mortgages under the new limits.
Experts are advising consumers to evaluate their needs and to do their research now in order to get a closing guarantee that won’t float if too much time is taken and the rate isn’t locked in.