What is a Jumbo Mortgage?

What is a Jumbo Mortgage?

A jumbo loan (also called a nonconforming loan) is a loan that exceeds the traditional loan limits set on an annual basis by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO). So, Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, the largest buyers of mortgages and other government agencies do not back jumbo mortgages.

Since these loans go beyond the normal or regular loan limits they often carry more risk than more traditional loans. Though interest rates are lower than they have been in years, jumbo loans typically have a higher interest rate than a traditional loan.

Due to the size of jumbo loans, they are more commonly found with luxury or larger sized homes or in housing markets where the average home price is far beyond what it would be in other states or areas. For example if the federally backed agencies, like OFHEO set the traditional loan limits at a max of $250,000, those wishing to find a house in California would find it nearly impossible to find a home for only $250,000.

Though the location of jumbo loan housing is not typically a tough sell, the large mortgages attached serve to make these loans a big risk because it is usually harder to sell such a home to the average homebuyer. This is especially true if you are not in chief real estate areas. Since jumbo loans are riskier than traditional loans, it usually takes great credit to be able to qualify, especially in tight credit times such as these. The rule of thumb has been that you may need a credit score of 680 to qualify for a jumbo loan. However creditors have traditionally looked for a minimum credit score of 700, and you may find that lending institutions are demanding already higher credit scores today.

And while down payments have been flexible when looking at traditional mortgages in the past, jumbo mortgages have always required a 20-25 percent down payment in most of the real estate markets where jumbo loans are shared. Although it is possible to acquire a second traditional mortgage for this down payment; or at the minimum a percentage of this required down payment amount. However, this may have changed recently as a consequence of the current housing market.

Around the time that the stimulus package was being decided on, government leaders felt the need to step in and attempt to make jumbo loans more freely easy to reach, by passing rules that would allow a meaningful number of jumbo loans to be treated like normal or traditional home loans. This was achieved by raising the amount that government agencies such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to almost $730,000 would be able back.

Unlike the sub-chief mortgage decisions, this rule was not produced to allow people with shaky credit the ability to buy million dollar homes. Instead, the idea was that it would help those with good credit and a large down payment, provide homes in areas where housing costs are more expensive than the rest of the country.

Unfortunately, these new rules have only been produced to stimulus borrowing due to the downturn in the housing market, and they are supposed to revert back to the old rules at the end of the year. And, since interest rates on jumbo loans nevertheless remained high, many in the financial sector have dimmed their allurement to their customers, seeing few reasons to change their offerings for such a short period of time. Especially since the most recent incarnation of jumbo mortgage loans are either on longer terms than traditional loans, often reaching 50-year amortizations; or have interest only terms. These newer loan options allow borrows to acquire jumbo mortgages without having to incur additional private mortgage insurance or PMI costs by typically opting to take a slightly higher interest rate and/or the lender paid mortgage insurance or LPMI.

If you are considering a jumbo mortgage, it is best to make sure that you have considered all of your expenses and salary before making such a large commitment. Since, monthly payments for a jumbo loan mortgage are often double or triple the typical monthly payments credited to traditional mortgages.

When the housing market was booming the costs of housing skyrocketed; so, the need for jumbo mortgages have become more shared place in recent years and obtainable in many more areas. Today, those needing a jumbo loan, may find that it is harder than ever to qualify for these loans as most financial institutions have increased approval standards, while others have stopped offering jumbo mortgages loans altogether.

Though it is much more difficult to get a jumbo mortgage today, it is not impossible. The meaningful is to acquire a mortgage expert that has a great deal of experience helping others acquire a jumbo mortgage loan. Jumbo mortgages loans can be a blessing or a curse, it is important that you have taken the necessary steps to insure that you are getting the terms and mortgage arrangement that is best for you and your particular situation.

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