Conforming & FHA Loan limits have been increased to 500K

Market Update:
Rates continue to be volatile, but are still at historically low levels.
Check out my 4.125% – 5 year Fixed money – LOW!! The rate sheet is attached.

Conforming & FHA Loan limits have been increased to 500K for the rest of 2009. The bad news is that these agency jumbo loans are not yet available in the market place. So we don’t know the pricing or stipulations yet, but I will update you with more as it unravels.

FHA & VA has also just raised its minimum fico score requirement to 620, yes that’s correct. Any loan’s currently in the system must be approved soon, to be grandfathered in.

***If I have given you a pre-qualification please get with me to verify FICO scores.***
If you have a loan in process and the interest rate was not been locked, they will need to be locked by March 7th to be eligible.
Please let your friends and clients know!

FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY

FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
Contact: Corinne Russell (202) 414-6921
February 23, 2009 Stefanie Mullin (202) 414-6376

2009 CONFORMING LOAN LIMITS INCREASED BY
AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which was signed into law on Tuesday, increased the maximum conforming loan limit for
mortgages originated in 2009. The increase affects 250 counties across the United States. For these areas, identified in the attached table, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits
will return to their late-2008 levels, which were up to $729,750 for one-unit properties in the continental United States. Loan limits in other areas are not changed by the
legislation.

Conforming loan limits for 2009 were originally announced in late 2008 and had been calculated under terms set forth in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008
(HERA), passed in July. The new ARRA legislation stipulates that, for loans originated in 2009, the loan limit is to be the higher of the 2008 limits and those originally calculated
for 2009 under HERA. Where the 2008 and 2009 limits differ, the 2008 limits tend to be higher and thus, in most cases, loan limits are reverting back to last year’s levels. For the
relatively few counties where 2009 limits actually increased (43 counties in Virginia, North Carolina, and California), the new limits will remain at the higher level.

Notable elements of the new legislation:
1. The Director of FHFA is given the authority to increase loan limits levels for “subareas” under provisions in ARRA. Given the implementation difficulties associated
with establishing multiple limits for any given county, FHFA’s Director currently has no plans to use this discretion.

2. The loan limits established under ARRA apply to all loans originated in 2009. For loans purchased in 2009 that were originated from July 1, 2007 through December
31, 2008, the same limits will apply. For loans purchased in 2009, but originated before July 1, 2007, the limits previously announced by FHFA on November 7 ,
2008 and updated in December will apply. For example, a $700,000 mortgage originated in 2006 would not be eligible for purchase this year, even if the
applicable local limit under ARRA is $729,750.

Several lookup tables are available at http://www.ofheo.gov/Regulations.aspx?Nav=128 that provide detailed information about local area loan limits. A full county listing is provided
showing loan limits for every U.S. county and county-equivalent. Also provided is a table showing those metropolitan areas where the new 2009 loan limits exceed the baseline
$417,000 level for one-unit properties.

The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan

President Obama unveiled his plan to help stabilize the housing market and keep millions of borrowers in their homes.

The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan includes two initiatives to help struggling homeowners. One is a refinancing program for homeowners with less than 20% equity in their homes, or who owe more than their home is worth. The second program attempts to lower monthly payments for homeowners at risk of losing their home. In addition, the plan includes a third initiative to support low mortgage rates by strengthening confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Many of the plan’s details are still being worked out and will not be announced until March 4, here is an overview of the plan’s main components.

Refinancing Initiative
Under current rules, those families who own less than 20% equity in their homes have a difficult time refinancing and taking advantage of the historically low interest rates. Therefore, the refinancing initiative in the new plan provides refinancing help for homeowners with less than 20% equity in their homes or who owe more than their home is worth. This initiative is open to homeowners who have conforming loans which are guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who owe up to 5% more than their home is worth.

According to the plan, “credit-worthy” or “responsible” homeowners can refinance their mortgage into a 30- or 15-year, fixed-rate loan based on current market rates. The refinanced loan, however, cannot include prepayment penalties or balloon payments. For many families, this low-cost refinancing may help reduce their mortgage payments by up to thousands of dollars per year.

As with the rest of the plan, details about this initiative will be released at a future date—including what, if any, credit score requirements will be included.

Stability Initiative
This initiative aims at providing help to individual families as well as entire neighborhoods by helping reduce foreclosures and stabilize home prices. It is intended to help homeowners who are struggling to afford their mortgage payments, but cannot sell their homes because prices have fallen significantly.

The goal of this initiative is simple: “reduce the amount homeowners owe per month to sustainable levels.” To accomplish this, lenders are encouraged to lower homeowners’ payments to 31 percent of their income by lowering their interest rate to as low as 2% or by extending the terms of the loan. In addition, lenders can also lower the principal owed by the borrower, with Treasury sharing in the costs.

Homeowners who are current on their mortgages but are struggling can still apply for this program. As such, this is one of the few programs designed to help homeowners who may face delinquency soon, but are current at the moment.

Since the focus of this initiative is on helping families and neighborhoods, investment properties do not qualify. This initiative also includes a number of additional elements and incentives that benefit homeowners and lenders alike, including:

Incentives to Help Borrowers Stay Current: To provide an extra incentive for borrowers to keep paying on time, the initiative will provide a monthly balance reduction payment that goes straight towards reducing the principal balance of the mortgage loan. As long as a borrower stays current on his or her loan, he or she can get up to $1,000 each year for five years.

Reaching Borrowers Early: To keep lenders focused on reaching borrowers who are trying their best to stay current on their mortgages, an incentive payment of $500 will be paid to servicers, and an incentive payment of $1,500 will be paid to mortgage holders, if they modify at-risk loans before the borrower falls behind.
Supporting Low Mortgage Rates
As part of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, the Treasury Department is increasing its funding commitment to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ensure the strength and security of the mortgage market and to help maintain mortgage affordability. This portion of the plan will use using funds already authorized in 2008 by Congress for this purpose.

The increased funding will enable Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to carry out ambitious efforts to ensure mortgage affordability for responsible homeowners, and provide forward-looking confidence in the mortgage market.

Again, the government plans to unveil the final details of the plan on March 4, 2009. For now, you can download a sheet of common Questions and Answers produced by the government at: http://www.treas.gov/initiatives/eesa/homeowner-affordability-plan/ConsumerQA.pdf

I will continue monitoring the plan as new information becomes available. If you have any questions or would like to discuss how this may specifically impact you, I’d be happy to sit down with you. Just call or email me to set up an appointment.

Tax Credit for Homebuyers

First-time homebuyers who purchase homes from the start of the year until the end of November 2009 may be eligible for the lower of an $8,000 or 10% of the value of the home tax credit. Remember a tax credit is very different than a tax deduction – a tax credit is equivalent to money in your hand, as opposed to a tax deduction which only reduces your taxable income.
The tax credit starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000. Buyers will have to repay the credit if they sell their homes within three years.
Tax Credit Versus Tax Deduction
It’s important to remember that the $8,000 tax credit is just that… a tax credit. The benefit of a tax credit is that it’s a dollar-for-dollar tax reduction, rather than a reduction in a tax liability that would only save you $1,000 to $1,500 when all was said and done. So, if a homebuyer were to owe $8,000 in income taxes and would qualify for the $8,000 tax credit, they would owe nothing.

Better still, the tax credit is refundable, which means the homebuyer can receive a check for the credit if he or she has little income tax liability. For example, if a homebuyer is liable for $4,000 in income tax, he can offset that $4,000 with half of the tax credit… and still receive a check for the remaining $4,000!
Phase-out Examples
According to the plan, the tax credit starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000.

To break down what this phase-out means to homebuyers who are over those amounts, the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) offers the following examples:

Example 1: Assume that a married couple has a modified adjusted gross income of $160,000. The applicable phase-out to qualify for the tax credit is $150,000, and the couple is $10,000 over this amount. Dividing $10,000 by $20,000 yields 0.5. When you subtract 0.5 from 1.0, the result is 0.5. To determine the amount of the partial first-time homebuyer tax credit that is available to this couple, multiply $8,000 by 0.5. The result is $4,000.

Example 2: Assume that an individual homebuyer has a modified adjusted gross income of $88,000. The buyer’s income exceeds $75,000 by $13,000. Dividing $13,000 by $20,000 yields 0.65. When you subtract 0.65 from 1.0, the result is 0.35. Multiplying $8,000 by 0.35 shows that the buyer is eligible for a partial tax credit of $2,800.

Remember, these are general examples. You should always consult your tax advisor for information relating to your specific circumstances.
Homes that Qualify
The tax credit is applicable to any home that will be used as a principle residence. Based on that guideline, qualifying homes include single-family detached homes, as well as attached homes such as townhouses and condominiums. In addition, manufactured or homes and houseboats used for principle residence also qualify.

Higher Loan Amounts
More good news – there is an extension on the additional tier of conforming loan amounts which had been first established in 2008. This tier of home loans are those greater than $417,000, and with a maximum that depends on the area, but is not greater than $729,750. These loans will again be eligible for rates that are slightly higher than conforming loan rates, but less expensive than the standard “jumbo” loan rates.
Additional Housing-Related Provisions
Tax Incentives to Spur Energy Savings and Green Jobs — This provision is designed to help promote energy-efficient investments in homes by extending and expanding tax credits through 2010 for purchases such as new furnaces, energy-efficient windows and doors, or insulation.
Landmark Energy Savings — This provision provides $5 Billion for energy efficient improvements for more than one million modest-income homes through weatherization. According to some estimates, this can help modest-income families save an average of $350 a year on heating and air conditioning bills.
Repairing Public Housing and Making Key Energy Efficiency Retrofits To HUD-Assisted Housing—This provision provides a total of $6.3 Billion for increasing energy efficiency in federally supported housing programs. Specifically, it establishes a new program to upgrade HUD-sponsored low-income housing (for elderly, disabled, and Section 8) to increase energy efficiency, including new insulation, windows, and frames.
Expanding Housing Assistance—This provision increases support for several critical housing programs. It includes $2 Billion for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help communities purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed, vacant properties.
More Help for Homeowners in the Future
Another thing to keep an eye on in the coming weeks is President Obama’s plan to help struggling borrowers before they are faced with a default on their mortgage.
According to reports, the Obama administration is discussing plans to help borrowers who are struggling to stay afloat, but who have not yet fallen behind on their payments. At this point, details are scarce; however, reports indicate that President Obama is looking to spend approximately $50 Billion to directly help homeowners before they face foreclosure and financial disaster.
While this is good news for individual homeowners, it will likely be good for the housing industry as a whole. That’s because, assisting struggling borrowers before they default should help stop the wave of foreclosures, which are estimated to top two million this year. That, in turn, will help stabilize home prices.
The Economic Stimulus Plan is huge, and impacts a number of industries. I’ve highlighted some of the major provisions that may impact you now and in the future.
As always, if you have any questions or would like to discuss how this may specifically impact you, I’d be happy to sit down with you. Just call or email me to set up an appointment.

1. If I’m qualified for the tax credit and buy a home in 2009, can I apply the tax credit against my 2008 tax return?
Yes. The law allows taxpayers to choose (“elect”) to treat qualified home purchases in 2009 as if the purchase occurred on December 31, 2008. This means that the 2008 income limit (MAGI) applies and the election accelerates when the credit can be claimed (tax filing for 2008 returns instead of for 2009 returns). A benefit of this election is that a home buyer in 2009 will know their 2008 MAGI with certainty, thereby helping the buyer know whether the income limit will reduce their credit amount.

1. Taxpayers buying a home who wish to claim it on their 2008 tax return, but who have already submitted their 2008 return to the IRS, may file an amended 2008 return claiming the tax credit. You should consult with a tax professional to determine how to arrange this.

2. For a home purchase in 2009, can I choose whether to treat the purchase as occurring in 2008 or 2009, depending on in which year my credit amount is the largest?
Yes. If the applicable income phaseout would reduce your home buyer tax credit amount in 2009 and a larger credit would be available using the 2008 MAGI amounts, then you can choose the year that yields the largest credit amount

Tax Credit for Homebuyers

Economic Stimulus Plan Benefits the Housing and Mortgage Industries
Revised February 17, 2009
Just signed and sealed…a $787 Billion Stimulus Plan made up of tax cuts and spending programs aims at reviving the US economy. Although the package was scaled down from nearly $1 Trillion, it still stands as the largest anti-recession effort since World War II.

Home owners and potential homebuyers stand to gain from key provisions in this stimulus plan. Here is what we know as of today…

The following discussions are intended for you to use directly with your client either in writing or verbally.

Tax Credit for Homebuyers
First-time homebuyers who purchase homes from the start of the year until the end of November 2009 may be eligible for the lower of an $8,000 or 10% of the value of the home tax credit. Remember a tax credit is very different than a tax deduction – a tax credit is equivalent to money in your hand, as opposed to a tax deduction which only reduces your taxable income.

The tax credit starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000. Buyers will have to repay the credit if they sell their homes within three years.

Additional Housing-Related Provisions
Tax Incentives to Spur Energy Savings and Green Jobs — This provision is designed to help promote energy-efficient investments in homes by extending and expanding tax credits through 2010 for purchases such as new furnaces, energy-efficient windows and doors, or insulation.

Landmark Energy Savings — This provision provides $5 Billion for energy efficient improvements for more than one million modest-income homes through weatherization. According to some estimates, this can help modest-income families save an average of $350 a year on heating and air conditioning bills.

Repairing Public Housing and Making Key Energy Efficiency Retrofits To HUD-Assisted Housing—This provision provides a total of $6.3 Billion for increasing energy efficiency in federally supported housing programs.Specifically, it establishes a new program to upgrade HUD-sponsored low-income housing (for elderly, disabled, and Section 8) to increase energy efficiency, including new insulation, windows, and frames.

Expanding Housing Assistance—This provision increases support for several critical housing programs. It includes $2 Billion for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help communities purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed, vacant properties.

More Help for Homeowners in the Future
Another thing to keep an eye on in the coming weeks is President Obama’s plan to help struggling borrowers before they are faced with a default on their mortgage.

According to reports, the Obama administration is discussing plans to help borrowers who are struggling to stay afloat, but who have not yet fallen behind on their payments. At this point, details are scarce; however, reports indicate that President Obama is looking to spend approximately $50 Billion to directly help homeowners before they face foreclosure and financial disaster.

While this is good news for individual homeowners, it will likely be good for the housing industry as a whole. That’s because, assisting struggling borrowers before they default should help stop the wave of foreclosures, which are estimated to top two million this year. That, in turn, will help stabilize home prices.

The Economic Stimulus Plan is huge, and impacts a number of industries. I’ve highlighted some of the major provisions that may impact you now and in the future.

As always, if you have any questions or would like to discuss how this may specifically impact you, I’d be happy to sit down with you. Just call or email me to set up an appointment.

Homestyle Loans- Rehab for Investment Homes

Please see the update below. There are some great programs for loan right now. I’d like to point out the Conventional – NOT FHA- Homestyle Loans. These loans are REHAB loans for Primary residences, Second Homes AND Investment properties! Call me for more information at 760-837-1488!! Talk soon! Homestyle Loan,

· FHA’s minimum down payment is being increased from 3% to 3.5% as of Jan 1, 2009. The only way to honor the 3% down payment option for your client, is to get their loan approved before the end of the year. So, if you don’t already have an approved offer and a loan submitted, then you should be notifying your clients about the change.

· FHA’s new Loan Limit for Riverside County is $355,350, not $500,000. This is also in effect on January 1, 2009, and under the same scenario as above.

· Conventional Loan limits have also been reduced back to $417,000, not $500,000 anymore. Any loan amount above 417K, is going to be considered a jumbo mortgage.

· Reverse Mortgages are going to be a great mortgage tool moving forward to help seniors over the age of 62 purchase a new home, with no income or credit qualification required. Yes, you heard that here first.

· Rates are great today, why not help you and your past clients out by sending them to us to do a cash out refinance on their primary residence at 5%, so they can get the down payment needed to buy a investment property from you today.

· USDA & VA Loan’s – both offer your clients 100% financing as long as they qualify for the program.

· 203(k) FHA remodel home loan – This program will allow your clients to include in the loan the cost of improvements the home will need to make it complete. This program requires only 3.5% down, and works on owner occupied properties only. Max loan $355,350.

· Fannie/Freddie’s Homestyle Loans – this program works very similar to the above program, which allows you to include the cost of the home improvements in the loan, except that it works for all occupancy types. Primary, Second Homes, and Inv. Properties. Loan amount goes to $417,000, and down payments vary based on occupancy.

Rates going to 4.5%?

There have been recent rumors of interest rates being brought down towards 4.5% by the Treasury. Rates are not going to 4.5% with the wave of a wand by Hank Paulson or Ben Bernanke. As a matter of fact, the massive borrowing to fund the TARP program has a negative effect on rates. This irresponsible release included no definitive plan, no indication of who might qualify, or what the restrictions would be. Remember, it may make sense for you to act now, and take advantage of current historically low rates…with the possibility of refinancing should rates decline further. Waiting for rates to fall to 4.5% may leave people sorely disappointed.