Week of April 21, 2008
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NAHB Chief Economist Says U.S. Has Slid Into Recession
Housing Starts Lose Further Ground in March
No Rally in Builder Confidence Seen in April
Surveys Find Consumers More Upbeat About Home Buying
Eye on the Economy: Housing Indicators Are Flashing Red
Attend or View the Construction Forecast Conference on April 24
Useful Links to Monitor Economic and Housing Trends

Freddie Mac Buying Jumbo Loans in High-Cost Areas

Freddie Mac announced on April 17 that it has agreed to purchase billions of dollars of new conforming jumbo mortgages with original loan amounts up to $729,750 from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Chase, CitiMortgage and WaMu.

Freddie Mac conforming jumbo mortgages can be used to finance properties in 224 high-cost markets designated in the economic stimulus bill signed by President Bush in February. The legislation through the end of this year has increased the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limit of $417,000 in markets where the median home price exceeds that amount.

Qualified borrowers can now apply for an array of fixed-rate or adjustable rate conforming jumbo mortgages that will be less expensive than non-conforming jumbo loans in high-cost markets. Borrowers can use Freddie Mac conforming jumbo mortgages to finance up to 90% of a property’s value.

By working with the banks cited in its announcement and with other national lenders, Freddie Mac said it expects to finance between $10 and $15 billion in new jumbo mortgages in 2008.

“Purchasing conforming jumbo mortgages for our portfolio shows how we can bring new liquidity to markets other investors have all but abandoned and make full use of the new tools Congress gave us to help restore stability during the current housing crisis,” said Freddie Mac Chairman and CEO Robert Syron. “We initially expect conforming jumbo mortgages to have rates that are as much as half a percentage point below the jumbo market in many of these high-cost markets.”

While specific product availability may vary by lender, Freddie Mac has said that it will buy 15-, 20-, 30- and 40-year fixed-rate, fully amortizing conforming jumbo mortgages; 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with 10-year interest-only periods; fully amortizing 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages; and 5/1 ARMs with 10-year interest-only periods.

Qualified borrowers can also obtain cash-out refinance conforming jumbo mortgages that provide a maximum cash-out of $100,000.

For more information, click here.



Attend the Spring Construction Forecast Conference in April

Plan to attend NAHB's Spring Construction Forecast Conference on Thursday, April 24 at the National Housing Center in Washington, D.C. The conference brings together the nation's premier housing economists and finance experts for an in-depth examination of the economic outlook for the housing industry.

Can't attend? Watch the conference webcast live.

For more information, or to register for the conference or webcast, visit www.nahb.org/cfc.



Want to Know the Housing Forecast for the Top 100 Metros? 

Find out in HousingEconomic.com’s 2008 to 2009 Metro Forecast (free preview).

Get the metro forecast with in-depth analysis, overviews and downloadable Excel tables.

To learn more, visit www.HousingEconomics.com.



Free NAHB Kit Gives Builders Back-to-Basics Tips to Navigate the Slowdown

What was once expected to be a relatively mild housing slump following three years of record new home construction and sales has given way to a significant downturn.

To help members navigate the uncharted waters of this slowdown, NAHB has compiled a comprehensive “Back to Basics” online toolkit — the best of the basics, the tried and true and the truly new. To access the toolkit, click here.

To access the “Back to Basics” toolkit, you must be an NAHB member and have a login to www.nahb.org. To create a login, go to www.nahb.org/login or click on the log-in button on the main menu bar.

For assistance, call the NAHB Member Service Center at 800-368-5242.

 
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