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Washington, D.C. – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which was signed into law on Tuesday, increased the maximum conforming loan limit for mortgages originated in 2009. The increase affects 250 counties across the United States. For these areas, identified in the attached table, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits will return to their late-2008 levels, which were up to $729,750 for one-unit properties in the continental United States. Loan limits in other areas are not changed by the legislation.
Conforming loan limits for 2009 were originally announced in late 2008 and had been calculated under terms set forth in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), passed in July. The new ARRA legislation stipulates that, for loans originated in 2009, the loan limit is to be the higher of the 2008 limits and those originally calculated for 2009 under HERA. Where the 2008 and 2009 limits differ, the 2008 limits tend to be higher and thus, in most cases, loan limits are reverting back to last year’s levels. For the relatively few counties where 2009 limits actually increased (43 counties in Virginia, North Carolina, and California), the new limits will remain at the higher level.
Notable elements of the new legislation:
The Director of FHFA is given the authority to increase loan limits levels for "sub-areas" under provisions in ARRA. Given the implementation difficulties associated with establishing multiple limits for any given county, FHFA’s Director currently has no plans to use this discretion.
The loan limits established under ARRA apply to all loans originated in 2009. For loans purchased in 2009 that were originated from July 1, 2007 through December 31, 2008, the same limits will apply. For loans purchased in 2009, but originated before July 1, 2007, the limits previously announced by FHFA on November 7 , 2008 and updated in December will apply. For example, a $700,000 mortgage originated in 2006 would not be eligible for purchase this year, even if the applicable local limit under ARRA is $729,750.
Several lookup tables are available at: www.fhfa.gov/DataTools/Downloads/Pages/Conforming-Loan-Limits.aspx that provide detailed information about local area loan limits. A full county listing is provided showing loan limits for every U.S. county and county-equivalent. Also provided is a table showing those metropolitan areas where the new 2009 loan limits exceed the baseline $417,000 level for one-unit properties.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks. These government-sponsored enterprises provide more than $6.3 trillion in funding for the U.S. mortgage markets and financial institutions.
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