In an interview with The Street, published on February 5, Ellie Mae CEO Sig Anderman stated that the housing market is improving. But such an assertion, based on his observation of Ellie Mae’s 3,500 customers nationwide, is purely anecdotal. In explaining about increased business, Anderman stated: “We see that in our reports every day, so it looks like housing is recovering. New home starts are picking up, so we’re very optimistic about the future of the housing industry and the future of the mortgage business.”
Ellie Mae, on the other hand, is simply a snippet of the housing market, and other changes, along with the proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) rules, indicate lending remains in a rocky place. For instance, the Federal Housing Administration announced changes to FHA loans on January 30, with the most notable being an increase to premiums.
Specifically, the FHA plans to increase premiums by 10 basis points (or by 0.1 percent of the total mortgage). As CNN Money explains, a 30-year, fixed-rate FHA mortgage with a five percent or greater down payment will have an additional 1.3-percent premium tacked on. Borrowers making down payments lower than five percent will see a 1.35-percent increase.
Jumbo loans are not exempt from such changes. Insurance for these premiums will see a jump of five basis points, or 0.05 percent.
Additionally, as these changes fall in line with the proposed QRM rules, lenders must manually underwrite all FHA loans for borrowers with 620 or lower credit scores. Borrowers, additionally, will be expected to pay premiums for the entirety of the loan – not just up to the 78 percent mark. As of right now, there’s no word when the proposed revisions go into effect.
The flipside of the future FHA changes is no-down payment mortgages, which are now making a comeback with affluent buyers. Such 100-percent financed mortgages previously edged borrowers closer to foreclosure (and, perhaps, exacerbated the housing crisis), but banks, according to a release, are seeing them as less of a risk. The loans, specifically, go to borrowers with greater assets, and all are required to provide two forms of collateral – a house and part of their investment portfolio in lieu of a down payment.