Voice for Real Estate 59: Higher Loan Limits, Carson Nomination

Limits for both conforming loans and FHA-backed loans have been increased to help keep pace with rising home prices. That's good news for buyers. Other stories in the Voice for Real Estate for the week of Dec. 12, 2016, look at the nomination of Ben Carson to head up HUD, bipartisan agreement among key members of Congress that lawmakers must tread carefully if they change the secondary mortgage market or tinker with tax incentives for real estate. The latest direction of signed contracts is also looked at. 

Featured Segments

  • FHA and conforming loan limits
  • Carson nominated to lead HUD
  • Tread carefully on GSE, tax reforms
  • Signed contracts up
  • realtor.org is now nar.realtor

Transcript

Higher loan limits mean more opportunities for home buyers

Congratulation to HUD Secretary nominee Ben Carson

And lawmakers agree with NAR to do no harm to real estate.

These stories an more on The Voice for Real Estate. 

HI, I’m Stephen Gasque of the National Association of Realtors.

Good news for households hoping to buy a home. The limit on conventional loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back—what’s known as the conforming loan limit—was increased last month for the first time since 2006. its now $424,100, up from $417,000.

And that’s not all. Just last week, the federal government announced that the loan limits for FHA loans are also going up, beginning in 2017. In high-cost areas, FHA loans can now go as high as $636,150, up from $625,500. And in the lowest-cost areas, the loan limit will rise to $275,665, up from $271,050. NAR’s Megan Booth has more. 

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To find out what the new loan limits are in your area, go to FHFA.gov and search “conforming loan limits map” for conventional loans, and for FHA loans, search “2017 loan limits” on HUD.gov.

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It’s been all over the news: Dr. Ben Carson, the former pediatric neurosurgeon who ran for the Republican presidential nomination, has been named by President-elect Donald Trump to head up the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Here’s NAR President Bill Brown on Dr. Carson’s nomination.

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Carson’s nomination must be confirmed by the Senate. We’ll keep you updated as his nomination proceeds through the confirmation process.

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There was a big event on housing policy in Washington last week. Housing experts from around the country joined NAR President Bill Brown in NAR’s Washington, D.C., headquarters for a half-day meeting on what our country can do right away to help more Americans enjoy homeownership. Here are two of the steps that came out of that meeting.

Step one—as Congress takes up tax and other legislation next year: do no harm. That means preserving a federal presence in the conventional home loans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back, and preserving the mortgage interest deduction and other incentives that have long helped maintain a strong real estate sector.

Step two: ease excessive bank and other rules that are weighing on lenders’ ability to make loans to buy and build homes. 

Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle were at the meeting and they agreed real estate is too important to the heath of the U.S. economy to change without carefully weighing all the consequences.

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The lawmakers also agreed that Realtors will be indispensible as Congress and the Administration get to work on their agenda, so they encouraged you to stay engaged in the legislative and regulatory processes from start to finish.

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Even before Congress and the new Administration get to work, regulators in the federal agencies will be busy in the waning days of the Obama Administration trying to finalize rules, including rules that could affect real estate. Here’s NAR’s Stephanie Spear on what to look for in these last weeks of the outgoing Administration. 

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Spear made her remarks in a video you can watch on Realtor Magazine’s YouTube channel. 

[SWOOSH]

The year’s winding down and NAR’s latest numbers on signed contracts point to continued solid sales. Here’s NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun on what the association’s pending home sales index says we should expect heading into 2017. 

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NAR will have a definitive picture on how home sales fared in 2016 when it releases its final numbers for the year at the end of January. 

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Did you know NAR’s online home—REALTOR.org—has a new name and URL?  It’s NAR.REALTOR.  

NAR launched the .realtor™ top-level domain two years ago to give Realtors their own part of the Internet. You can still get to NAR’s site using the old address, though. If you type in REALTOR.org, you’ll automatically be redirected to the new address.

[SWOOSH] 

And that’s out show for the week of December 12. You can get more on everything we talked about at The Voice for Real Estate page on NAR.REALTOR. Thank you for joining us and be sure to join us again as we bring you the latest news on The Voice for Real Estate.

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