Monday, February 16, 2009

Stimulus bill restores Fannie, Freddie, FHA limits

Congress today approved a $790 billion economic stimulus bill that includes a modest expansion of a first-time homebuyer tax credit and restores to $729,750 the upper loan limit in high-cost areas for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA loan guarantee programs.

The compromise bill increases the $7,500 limit on an existing tax credit for first-time homebuyers to $8,000, extends its sunset from July 1 to Dec. 1, and eliminates a requirement to repay the credit (unless a home is resold within three years).

The loan limits for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA loan guarantee programs, which were bumped back down to $625,500 in high-cost areas on Jan. 1, were restored to the temporary $729,750 approved by Congress a year ago in the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008.
Fannie and Freddie's conforming loan limits -- which began 2008 at $417,000 -- were allowed to stretch to 125 percent of the median home price in high-priced housing markets for much of last year. That was intended to be a temporary measure to address the high cost of non-conforming "jumbo" loans after the collapse of the private-label secondary mortgage market in August 2007.

The $729,750 limit expired on Jan. 1, and Fannie, Freddie and FHA are currently permitted to guarantee loans of up to 115 percent of the median home price in high-cost markets, with a cap of $625,500 (that's 150 percent of the $417,000 conforming loan limit). HR 1 will restore the limit to 125 percent of median home price in high cost markets, up to $729,750, for the remainder of 2009.

If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home in Frisco, Plano, McKinney or any of the communities in Collin and Dallas County, then contact Realtor David Raisey at