Keller Williams Greater Seattle

FHA and Conforming Loan Limits Expected to Reduce

By on July 6, 2011 in Feature, Mortgage, Real Estate with 2 Comments

If you’re in the market to buy a home and intend to finance a mortgage greater than $500,000, there are changes ahead that could affect you. Barring Congressional intervention, the conforming and FHA loan limits are expected to decrease $61,500 effective October 1, 2011 from $567,500 to $506,000 in the Seattle metro area.

Conforming Loan Limit

The current conforming loan limit is temporary, enacted in 2008, and is set expire on September 30, 2011. A day after, on October 1, 2011, the $506,000 limit set by the Housing and Recovery Act of 2008 for King, Snohomish and Pierce counties will take effect. However, this is not guaranteed as the higher limit could still be extended. View limits for other counties.

How will this affect me?

If you’re purchasing a property and anticipate securing a conforming loan, you’ll need to come up with a larger down payment to meet the lower $506,000 loan limit. Otherwise, you’ll be in jumbo loan territory with higher rates. Fortunately, it will not affect the vast majority of Seattle area condo buyers where 85.2% of all condos sold in Seattle during the first half of this year were priced below $550,000.

FHA Loan Limit

In 2008, the FHA loan limit was temporarily increased to $567,500. It, too, will revert to the limit set under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) as of October 1, 2011, unless it’s extended by Congress. For King, Pierce and Snohomish counties the FHA loan limit will be $506,000. FHA info and limits for other counties.

How will this affect me?

Today, you can buy a property priced up to $588,000 with FHA, assuming a 3.5% down payment ($588,000 x 0.965 = $567,420 loan amount). As of October 1st, the maximum price will decrease to approximately $524,350 in order to meet the $506,000 loan limit. And, if you’re financing closing costs, then the purchase price will be lower still. However, the net effect is negligible since less than 4% of condos purchased in the first half of 2011 fell within this range.

Keep in mind, the changes aren’t necessarily set in stone, they can still be adjusted. But, if you don’t want to take that chance and if you are in the $524,350 to $588,000 price range and using FHA, or if you’re looking to avoid a jumbo loan, then contemplating a 30-day closing period you have around 50 days to find a home and get under contract by the end of August. However, some lenders may tighten the time frame.

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About the Author

About the Author: Ben Kakimoto is a condo marketing specialist and publisher of The Seattle Condo Blog. Ben's focus is urban residential properties in Seattle's metropolitan core. Contact Ben to learn more about the Seattle condo and loft real estate market. Find Ben on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. .


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There Are 2 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Fannie Mae has issued a memo stating that conforming loan limits may be reduced further effective Jan 1, 2012. We typically learn the next years loan limits in November.

  2. Ben Kakimoto says:

    @Rhonda – I did here there’s a possibility it could potentially go back down to $417,000. Do you think that’s likely? That will be a significant detriment.

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