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New Conforming Loan Limits Set at $548,250 for 2021

By Mary Heerwald | November 24, 2020

What Does This Mean for You? The Federal Housing Finance Committee (FHFA) just announced that in 2021, new limits for conforming loans will be set at $548,250 for most of the country, up from $510,000 in 2020. What does this mean for borrowers? You’ll have more buying power. The FHFA oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; these entities are responsible for regulating mortgages (which includes setting the limits on home loans that conform to Fannie and Freddie criteria — known as “conforming home loans”). These limits are adjusted annually to account for changes in the average U.S. home price. Conforming loans are seen as some of the most user-friendly for borrowers. Starting in 2021, these loans will be available for mortgages up to $548,250, which means you might be able to put less money down or purchase a bigger house without having to get what’s called a “Jumbo Loan” or a high-balance loan. Jumbo and high-balance loans tend to have stricter income underwriting, higher rates for smaller down payments, and specific requirements for the cash a borrower has in reserve. They can also take longer to close than conventional loans. This will mark the 5th straight year of Fannie and Freddie raising mortgage loan limits — a stark contrast to the decade between 2006-2016 when this ceiling went unchanged. Increasing conforming loan limits is yet…

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How to Help Your Wallet Through the Holidays This Year

By Mary Heerwald | November 16, 2020

Top 6 tips for holiday 2020 budgeting   We’re about to enter a unique holiday season — so what’s one way to take seasonal stress off your plate? Be financially prepared. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans report spending $1,007, on average, for holiday-related expenses. Ensure that you can enjoy the season as stress-free as possible by using these budgeting tips and tricks. Understand (and set) your limits. Make a list of your regular monthly, fixed expenses — these are predictable and will need to be taken care of. This list should include things like loan repayments (home, auto, student), insurance, credit card payments, groceries, gas, education/childcare, and other regular budget items. Then, start identifying buckets of spending specific to the holidays — and write down estimates on cost. Examples include: Holiday cards and postage Decorations and wrapping Travel Unique food items, such as a turkey or special desserts Gifts (more on this below) Add your holiday budget and regular expenses together and compare it to your monthly income. This will give you an idea on how much you need to save or cut. Make a list, check it twice. Write down everyone you’d ideally like to give a gift to this holiday season — then put a dollar figure next to their names for a gift amount that feels appropriate. This should be…

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U.S. housing market stays strong through pandemic

By Mary Heerwald | October 20, 2020

As we settle into the final months of 2020, we have more insight into the health of the U.S. housing market (and what to expect for those looking to buy or move). While it has sometimes felt like there’s been a continuous stream of dark or divisive news this year, the housing market has been a “shining star in the economic recovery.” Let’s break down a few important current trends.  If you’re buying a house In the market? Many Americans have been (understandably) spurred on by historic low interest rates — but they’ve had to be ready for a hunt. Housing supply has continued to decline throughout 2020, meaning there are fewer homes to choose from than this time last year. Houses are also selling 12 days faster, on average.  In a reversal from the initial dip in March, when the pandemic was picking up, August sales of new single-family homes in the U.S. climbed nearly 5% from the previous month. And in the south, this number jumped to 13.4% — a 14-year high for sales of new single-family residences. Affordability has also been impacted by this undeniably seller’s market. Median existing house prices increased to a record of $310,600 nationally.  What’s happening nationally While interest rates set by the Federal Reserve are not the same as mortgage interest rates, there’s a correlation. So importantly,…

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