by Dean Hartman on February 16, 2012
Before the end of the year, Congress and the President agreed to extend the payroll tax cut. In that bill, there were two items of interest for those involved in real estate.
1.) The hike in the Guarantee Fees charged by the GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The 10 basis point increase in the fees has translated to a .375% to .5% increase in mortgage rates for conventional loans. Many customers who started their loans a couple of months ago are being “surprised” with higher than expected rates. Heck, everything you read in the papers says rates are at historic lows and will likely stay there through 2014. Many consumers feel as if their lender is being unscrupulous. However, your lender has fallen victim to the increase in Guarantee Fees and how the secondary market is passing on the cost. What looks like possible lender greed is just a passing on of the increased expense imposed by the government. Sadly, the increased revenue isn’t even being used to help aid an ailing Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. It is being turned over to the US Treasury to cover the temporary extension of the payroll tax cut.
2.) Permission for HUD to increase the insurance premiums they charge on FHA loans.
If you remember, HUD charges two insurance premiums – a monthly one and an up-front one that is usually added into the loan. Most recently, they reduced the up-front mortgage insurance premium (UFMIP) and dramatically raised the monthly fee (MMIP). It is widely anticipated that, maybe as soon as April, we will see a hike in the UFMIP with no adjustment to the MMIP. While this will help shore up the reserves in the insurance fund, it will simultaneously make buying a home more expensive. No one knows the effective date or amount of the increase. Buyers should look to buy before the increase in fees.
We always hear how our government officials tuck away things in their bills. In this case, while the headlines during the holidays praised Washington for preserving the payroll tax cut, they may have hurt us more in the long run.