THE BASIS POINT

Jumbo Loan Importance Grows As Fannie & Freddie Trim Loan Limits

It’s almost a certainty that the super-conforming loan level in the higher-priced areas will indeed drop to $625,500 from $729,750 on October 1. Here are new loan limit memos from Fannie Mae and FHFA, and here’s an an MSNBC story on jumbo loan implications.

Aventur Partners & Aventur Mortgage Capital are turning some heads in the jumbo world. Led by the former co-founder and CEO of Thornburg Mortgage (Larry Goldstone) is developing a new mortgage company specializing in jumbo lending. Past and current legal nightmares aside, Thornburg-style companies certainly have their fans in the business, and the former vice president of Thornburg, David Akre, is COO of the new firm—which is ramping up to capture jumbo market share as Fannie’s and Freddie’s decreases.

A home price report from Zillow yesterday showed that home values posted the largest decline in the first quarter since late 2008. Home values fell 3% in the first quarter from the previous quarter and 1.1% in March from the previous month, and Zillow reports prices have now fallen for 57 consecutive months. Our economy needs job and housing to truly recover, and although mortgage rates continue to be low, the expiration of the housing tax credit and the continued flow of foreclosures hitting the market aren’t helping prices. Detroit, Chicago and Minneapolis posted the largest declines during the first quarter of the top 25 metro areas tracked by Zillow, while Pittsburgh, Dallas and Washington posted the smallest declines.

As an interesting side note to this, housing is more affordable than any time in a few decades. But credit, appraisal, and documentation standards remain tight (many would say they should, and if they were in place 5 years ago we wouldn’t have these issues). One report mentioned that the average credit score on loans backed by Fannie Mae stood at 762 in the first quarter, up from an average of 718 between 2001-2004.

And here’s the latest confusion on mortgage fraud: Incidents of mortgage fraud dropped (or rose) from 2009 to 2010, depending on who you ask. Regardless, Florida took the “top” honors, followed by New York, California, New Jersey, and Maryland (No. 5).