On Friday the House of Representatives failed to extend the current conforming loan limits, which are set to expire on September 30. This was a big blow to the real estate market and to buyers and sellers. But does this mean the fight for extension is over?
Let’s take a look at the situation so that you can understand the problem. Current conforming loan limits are set at $729,750. They were raised to that number in 2008, to allow buyers to obtain financing for larger mortgages. This was a great help to buyers in ares where housing is higher, like here in San Diego county. If the limits do not get extended they will drop down to $625,500 in some areas, lower in others. Again, this really effects higher priced areas, such as along the west and east coasts.
Some argue that dropping the limits will actually be good for housing, as it will assure that only qualified buyers will get loans. However, in the higher priced areas it will force buyers to have larger down payments, or to buy homes priced lower. This will effect the higher end market, and in pricier areas this will effect the market, period. This is not good news for those who need to sell, and the long-term effect is that it will likely bring down prices substantially, or stagnate markets further…neither of which are positive options in this economy.
The Obama administration says that allowing the limits to expire will cause more private money to flow back into the housing markets. I am not a mortgage expert, but wouldn’t these have much higher interest rates? Allowing these limits to expire is going to effect an already fragile housing market.
The next opportunity to reverse the loan limit reduction will be at the end of the year. Let’s hope we get there, as now is NOT the time to distress the housing market any further.