Mortgage Market Still Open for Business

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Lenders emphasize that loans continue to be available for a range of potential home buyers, not just those who are putting down 20 percent and have a credit score higher than 720.

Although credit underwriting is tougher and loan terms stricter, borrowers can still put down 3 percent (3.5 percent after Jan. 1) on an FHA-insured mortgage and 5 percent on some Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan programs with private mortgage insurance.

FHA standards are designed to help people with problem credit and those with scores in the upper 600s can still qualify for loans with reasonable rates offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Maximum loans in high-cost markets are capped at $729,750 through December. In June, they are expected to fall to approximately $625,000.

“I don’t think consumers really know how free-flowing capital is right now in the residential mortgage market. There are no shortages, no breakdowns. People ought to be aware of that,” says Jeff Lipes, president of Family Choice Mortgage.

Source: Washington Post Writer’s Group, Kenneth R. Harney (10/18/2008)

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