Patti Phillips
Prudential California Realty
6119 La Granada
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
Direct toll free: 800-680-9133
Cell: 619-507-2100 Office: 858-481-2020

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I found this interesting article regarding the surcharge that was being charged by Freddie and Fannie. This should help our market. It's worth reading.

If you have been thinking of buying investment property- now is the time. I can find you property that will provide a positive cash flow for you. Homeowners who have had their homes foreclosed on need housing. Many of these people are not "deadbeats." When you look at their credit, they have always paid their bills on time- until their loans readjusted. Then they were stuck. Usually everything else has remained paid on time. These previous homeowners make great tenants!

Call me to look at your investment potential!

Fannie and Freddie reverse the policy that made buyers cough up bigger down payments in certain locales.

By Kenneth R. Harney, Washington Post Writers Group
May 25, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Could the controversial mortgage industry practice of listing hundreds of local real estate markets as "declining" -- and restricting lending through higher down payments or credit scores -- be scrapped?

The two biggest players in the home mortgage field, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, did precisely that on May 16. Reversing its policy of penalizing buyers in troubled real estate markets with 5% higher down payments, Fannie Mae switched to a nationally uniform policy of charging borrowers the same minimum down payments irrespective of location. A spokesman for Freddie Mac, Brad German, said his company would be "suspending" its declining markets policy indefinitely as well.

Starting June 1, mortgage applicants who are underwritten by Fannie Mae's automated system online will qualify for 3% minimum down payments, wherever the property is located.

Borrowers whose applications require "manual" underwriting will pay 5% minimum down payments.

Under Fannie Mae's prior system, applicants buying in designated declining markets had to contribute 5% extra in upfront equity compared with borrowers in nondeclining market areas.

Freddie Mac's policy, which never employed a list of areas designated as declining, relied instead on lenders to flag applications using appraisal data or home price indexes. Freddie's policy also required 5% higher equity contributions upfront.

Critics -- including the National Assn. of Realtors and consumer advocacy groups -- had charged that Fannie Mae's policy served to further depress sales and real estate values in areas tainted as declining.

They also argued that many metropolitan markets experiencing price decreases contain sub-markets performing relatively well, and they do not deserve to be underwritten as high risk.

Marianne Sullivan, Fannie Mae's senior vice president for single-family credit and risk management, said the policy reversal was possible because of improvements to the company's automated underwriting system, allowing it to "assess each loan more precisely."

The change was welcomed by national real estate and housing groups.

Dick Gaylord, president of the National Assn. of Realtors, said the termination of a policy that "stigmatized" certain communities will "help stabilize the credit markets."

David Berenbaum, executive vice president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, said his group hopes the revised policies at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will prove to be "a model for others to follow."

Whether that happens any time soon, however, is far from certain. Private mortgage insurers, who provide loss protection to lenders on loans with low down payments, have virtually all adopted highly restrictive policies affecting ZIP Codes or metropolitan areas they designate as declining.

MGIC, the largest-volume insurer, recently expanded its list of distressed markets along with a series of cutbacks on specific types of low-equity loans. As of June 1, MGIC will not insure condominium mortgages in the state of Florida. It also has abandoned cash-out refinancings and loans on investment properties.

PMI Group, another major underwriter, has banned cash-out refis or investor loans in areas it judges to be distressed. Genworth Financial will not consider applications on second homes anywhere in Florida. AIG United Guaranty no longer will write insurance on condominiums in any of hundreds of ZIP Codes around the country that are on its declining markets list.

Asked whether his firm might reevaluate its declining markets restrictions in light of the abrupt changes at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Terry Souers, a spokesman for Genworth Financial's mortgage insurance unit, said: "We're aware of their actions and will take them into consideration to see if additional steps are necessary."

But Michael J. Zimmerman, senior vice president of investor relations for MGIC, shot down hopes for any quick abandonment of declining markets restrictions at his firm. "We're not contemplating any changes," he said.

MGIC, which reported a $1.4 billion loss for the fourth quarter of 2007 and a $34 million loss for the first quarter of this year, has been hit hard by claims following foreclosures and extended delinquencies in once-booming housing markets.

What's the trend line here?

Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's policy switches should open the door to some additional low-down-payment mortgages -- and home sales -- in local areas once tagged as declining.

However, without the participation of private mortgage insurers -- who report solely to stock market investors rather than to Congress -- many borrowers will likely have to turn to the Federal Housing Administration, which accepts 3% down, does not have declining markets restrictions and whose loans can be purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Ken Harney can be reached at

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