President Bush Signs NAHB-Supported VA Loan Guarantee Bill
President Bush signed the “Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004” into law on Dec. 10, immediately bringing the maximum amount for no-downpayment loans under the VA loan guaranty program to $333,700. The maximum increases further, to $359,650, with the start of the new year.
Under Freddie Mac’s charter, the maximum initial loan amounts are 50% higher for properties in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The new law indexes the VA guaranty, which is 25% of the loan, to the Freddie Mac conforming loan limit. It also revives the VA’s authority to guarantee adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) and extends hybrid ARMs through Sept. 30, 2008. VA has not had the authority to guarantee ARMs since a pilot program expired in 1995, and its authority to guarantee hybrids would have expired next year.
The VA also announced that it is increasing the maximum annual adjustment for hybrid ARMs with initial fixed periods of five years or longer from 1% to 2%, brining the VA’s program in line with other hybrid ARM programs, a move that should improve the competitiveness of the VA loans in the mortgage market.