The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is raising the maximum conforming loan limit for mortgages to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to $484,350 in 2019, up from the current limit of $453,100.
The FHFA asserted that the baseline maximum conforming loan limit is being raised to reflect the 6.9 percent increase on home prices between the third quarters of 2017 and 2018. The FHFA added that the maximum conforming loan limit will be higher in 2019 in all but 47 counties or county equivalents across the U.S. Special statutory for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands will result in a baseline loan limit will be $726,525 for one-unit properties. For other areas where 115 percent of the local median home value exceeds the baseline conforming loan limit, the maximum loan limit will be higher than the baseline loan limit.
While the FHFA announcement did not generate public comment from the leading mortgage and housing trade group, former Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) President and CEO David H. Stevens took to Twitter to question this move.
“GSE Loan Limit rises almost 7% to $484,350 for 2019 by formula,” he tweeted. “I guess lenders will applaud. This does nothing to promote more private capital in the system. For an industry led mostly by conservatives, this dependence on a socialized financial system is really ironic. Thoughts?”
National Association of Realtors (NAR) President John Smaby, a second-generation Realtor from Edina, Minnesota and broker at Edina Realty, had a different opinion than Stevens.
“The National Association of Realtors is pleased to see the Federal Housing Finance Agency raise its national conforming loan limits for 2019," said Smaby. "Today’s decision reflects rising or near record high home prices in many U.S. markets, and the move helps keep the American Dream within reach for countless families working with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Without this assurance that loan limits keep up with home price growth, borrowers across the country risk being pushed out of the market altogether as mortgage rates and rising home prices continue to hold back potential homebuyers.”