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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are too big, and changes are coming.

moneypitBeginning on January 10th, the new QM rules take effect – limiting the debt-to-income ratios to 43%, and capping points and fees charged by lenders to 3% of the loan amount.

Because lenders will be subject to repurchasing any mortgages that don’t comply, some lenders are talking about limiting the DTI to 39% to provide a margin of error.

In the past, borrowers with compensating factors have been able to stretch their D-T-I ratio as high as 50%.  Now they won’t.

Is it a big deal?

It is for lenders, but to home buyers and sellers all it means is that there will be fewer people in the buyer pool for each house for sale.  Buyers may need to lower their sights, which will make the cheaper homes in each market more competitive.

The other change is how Fannie/Freddie will add more fees depending on your down payment and credit score.  It is rather arbitrary too, where borrowers with 680-740 FICO scores get hit the worst.  They can look forward to a nasty choice; to pay 1/4% to 3/4% higher in rate, use a 30% down payment, or manipulate your credit score downward to pay less fees.

The gritty details can be found Here.

For home buyers who are looking for more to reasons to stay on the fence, this is a truckload of fun.  But for the highly motivated buyers (the ones making the market), all it means is being more determined to fight for the best deal you can find, and hope that home prices will reflect the new era.

For anyone selling a great house on a great street, these changes won’t mean a thing.  For those trying to sell an inferior home for retail-plus, don’t be surprised if 2014 brings a more-measured response.

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