This is a great time to be looking for a new home. Historically low mortgage interest rates will remain low for the near future. Those low interest rates keep home purchases affordable, which is good news for buyers and sellers.
With the August United States’ debt ceiling crisis behind us, many people are starting to become more confident about buying or selling their homes.
In early August, the Federal Reserve pledged to maintain historical low interest rates for another one to two years. Most likely, when the Fed’s pledge ends, interest rates will have to increase. However, we don’t anticipate a significant increase in interest rates until 2013 or later.
Even though underwriting for home loans has tightened up over the past several years and buyers are now required to put down larger down payments and have higher credit scores, the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, still offers mortgages with a 3.5 percent down payment.
Expiring High Mortgage Balance Loan Limits
As a result of the 2008 mortgage crisis, loan limits were increased to allow more borrowers to secure conforming loans. On the first of October 2011, these temporary limits expired, and more buyers in higher-priced markets will need jumbo loans that will carry tighter qualifying requirements (i.e. credit scores) and slightly higher interest rates.
Although many banks stopped or significantly tightened lending underwriting for jumbo loan products when the housing crisis hit, they are now back in the market and filling the void created by the expiration of the higher loans balance. That’s good news for buyers needing jumbo loans and sellers of higher-priced properties.
The days of reckless lending and then the market’s pendulum swing to overly conservative lending practices are gone. The good news is that we are now back to sensible underwriting. Even though we have tougher qualifying requirements – larger down payments and higher credit scores – banks still want to provide mortgages, even at historically low interest rates. Call your broker for more information when planning to buy, sell or refinance your home.