The maximum conforming loan limits for conventional mortgages through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are staying the same, at least for the moment. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced Tuesday that the maximum loan limits for Fannie and Freddie will remain at $417,000 for most areas of the country and up to $625,500 in more expensive markets. After months of real estate industry angst and 66 House Members signing a letter protesting Acting FHFA Director Edward DeMarco’s stated plan to lower the loan limits – this announcement is a welcome change. FHFA could still lower the loan limits sometime next year but DeMarco said the agency would give at least six months’ notice before making any changes. This is a very big deal in the Bay Area and other high cost areas of California as the expanded conforming limits provide much needed access to lower cost conforming mortgages. Stay tuned – if Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), President Obama’s nominee to head the FHFA, is confirmed. Many observers think Watt would focus the agency on options for struggling homeowners, and be less inclined to lower conforming loan limits. Watt’s confirmation was blocked by Senate Republicans, but the recent change to remove the option of a filibuster means he now requires only 51 votes to be confirmed.
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