CONFORMING LOAN LIMIT FOR U.S. TO REMAIN AT $417,000 IN 2009
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today announced the conforming loan limit will remain $417,000 for 2009 for most areas in the U.S. but specified higher limits in certain cities and counties. The conforming loan limit is the maximum size of loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can purchase in 2009.
According to provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), the national loan limit is set based on changes in average home prices over the previous year, but cannot decline from year to year. Loan limits for two-, three-, and four-unit properties in 2009 will remain at 2008 levels as well: $533,850, $645,300, and $801,950 respectively, for homes in the continental U.S.
The national limit was left unchanged at $417,000 based on declines in FHFA’s monthly and quarterly house price indexes over the past year. The monthly purchase-only index declined 5.9 percent over the 12 months ending August 2008, and the quarterly all-transactions index dropped 1.7 percent from second quarter 2007 to second quarter 2008. Virtually every other measure of house prices has also fallen, with many showing even larger declines.
FHFA has not yet determined whether it will continue to use a currently existing FHFA price index to gauge price movements in future years. For this year, however, all reliable metrics point to lower prices, and a price decline of any size is sufficient to determine that the national limit will not change.