Numbers Count: Weekly mortgage data highlights

Posted by

Numbers count. They matter to bankers and to prospective homebuyers, sellers, and real estate professionals. Here’s my take on the key numbers on the housing market this week.

The numbers: Lenders loosen requirements some

couple looking seriously at figures on a computer.Lending standards have eased ever so slightly in recent months on residential mortgages, according to the latest Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey (SLOOS) released by the Federal Reserve Feb. 2. Fourteen percent of lenders said their underwriting standards on mortgages they can sell to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae “eased somewhat” in the past three months; 9% said standards eased somewhat on jumbo mortgages that meet regulatory standards to be designated Qualified Mortgages (QM); and 10% said standards eased somewhat on non-jumbo QM loans. The easing occurred primarily among the 40 large banks in the survey, while some smaller banks tightened underwriting.

What counts: It’s not the heady days of 2007 by any means, but as the economy improves I would expect some banks would start to loosen lending standards. What this data suggests for prospective borrowers is this: Don’t assume you can’t qualify for a loan. Prospective borrowers who have been unable to qualify in the past or thought they couldn’t qualify may be pleasantly surprised today. With spring just around the corner, now is the time to learn more about your options, find out what you may qualify for, and start gathering the documents you’ll need to be pre-approved for a mortgage.

The numbers: Candidates for down payment assistance

Nearly 9 out of 10 homes in America could qualify for down payment programs based on certain criteria, according to a report from Realty Trac and Down Payment Resource released Feb. 3. The joint analysis based on more than 2,000 assistance programs across the country found that 87% of U.S. homes qualify for down payment help. Los Angeles, San Diego, and Arizona’s Maricopa counties were among the 10 counties with the most homes qualifying for down payment help, according to the report.

What counts: Coming up with the down payment is frequently mentioned as one of the biggest barriers to homeownership among. But there’s help for some. In addition to recent decisions by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to accept mortgages with just 3% down, there are assistance programs that buyers may want to investigate. In addition to checking with your local government offices, you may want to consider the use of online resources. For example, the Down Payment Resource’s website has a tool to help identify potential programs.

Reminder: All comments are moderated prior to publication and must follow our Community Guidelines.

Submit an Idea

[contact-form-7 id="32" title="Share An Idea"]

You are leaving the Bank of the West Change Matters site. Please be aware: The website you are about to enter is not operated by Bank of the West. Bank of the West does not endorse the content of this website and makes no warranty as to the accuracy of content or functionality of this website. The privacy and security policies of the site may differ from those practiced by Bank of the West. To proceed to this website, click OK, or hit Cancel to remain on the Bank of the West Change Matters site.