Developments in the A Paper Loan Market
In the last week or so, nonconforming A paper has really been hit. While available conforming rates have actually gone down, nonconforming has gone up by over half a percent. Picking one of yesterday's rate sheet at random, I can do a 30 year fixed rate loan at 6.5 percent at retail par (in other words, no points to the consumer). I appear to have picked one of the worse spreads because I know I've got better than this, but the lowest fee from the same lender on the nonconforming table is 8 percent - which costs 2.5 points retail (I just priced one at 7.25 for 2 points retail).
Fannie and Freddie backed loans are doing just fine. The issue is that "stated income" loans of conforming size traditionally use the same rate table as larger "full documentation" loans. Since the real problem appears to be stated income - even at high credit ratings - tarring both customer classes with the sins of one is not exactly the most competitive thing that lenders can do. I can think of three or four possible fixes to the situation right off the bat. I expect that the smart folks who are paid the big bucks by the lenders to be able to think of all of these and more. I further expect the lenders will do something on the individual lender level as quickly as top management can agree upon what to do.
Now conforming is what those whose properties are worth up to 125% of the conforming limit of $417,000, or $521,250, should be looking for. This is most folks, even in high priced San Diego. As long as Fannie or Freddie likes your loan, rates are still good and the loans are easy to do. This is part of the reason for my mantra about "guard your credit and only sign up for loans you can afford."
For Fannie and Freddie, investing in mortgages is what they specialize in. In fact, it's the only thing they're allowed to do, assuming I understand correctly. Other investors are allowed to do other things, and right now The Word is out the mortgage investments aren't as secure as they usually are, so investors are panicking and doing other things even more than is rational. Panicked people do strange and silly things, as anybody who watches the financial markets knows. It'll likely settle out fairly soon. Meantime, the tightened supply of mortgage money means that if Fannie and Freddie don't like your loan, the price of the money is going to be higher.
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