Sunday, March 22, 2009

More Jumbo Financing Coming

by Calculated Risk on 3/22/2009 12:10:00 PM

From Kenneth Harney at the LA Times: New supply of 'jumbo' financing in pipeline

Bank of America, the country's largest mortgage lender, is rolling out a large program to finance loans between about $730,000 and $1.5 million, with fixed 30-year rates starting in the upper 5% range.
...
The minimum down payment for an ING Direct jumbo is 25%; Bank of America quotes a minimum of 20%.
...
Bank of America's new program requires hefty liquid resources -- six months of principal, interest, property tax and insurance payments in reserve -- plus fully documented income, solid credit scores and a full appraisal.
The lenders are paying attention to the "Three C's": creditworthiness, capacity, and collateral, and requiring a serious downpayment that will keep the homeowners committed.

Currently jumbo rates are in the 6.5% range, and rates for these new programs are in the "upper 5% range" - still way above rates on conforming loans, but this will probably help in some markets. Here is an excerpt from DataQuick's report on the California Bay Area:
[U]se of so-called jumbo loans to finance high-end property remained at abnormally low levels. Before the credit crunch hit in August 2007, jumbo loans, then defined as over $417,000, represented 62 percent of Bay Area purchase loans, compared with just 17.5 percent last month.

The difficulties potential high-end buyers have had in obtaining jumbo loans helps explain why sales of existing single-family houses fell to record-low or near-record-low levels for a February in some higher-end communities. They included Orinda, Walnut Creek, San Rafael, San Francisco, Burlingame, San Mateo, Los Gatos, and Los Altos.

“A lot of Bay Area activity is basically on hold, waiting for the jumbo mortgage spigot to reopen.” said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president.
I'm not sure this will "open the spigot", but it will probably help a little.