Higher-dollar mortgages that typically finance bigger, pricier homes, widely called “jumbo loans,” may be getting easier to obtain.
Such loans became popular during the housing boom as home prices soared and lending guidelines were lax. But they petered out after the housing bust, when banks became extra cautious about lending.
Recent news reports and new data point to a possible comeback for these private loans, which can be pricier for homeowners to finance because they are typically not backed by the government.
The amount that big-name lenders like Bank of America and Wells Fargo issued in jumbo-loan dollars in the second quarter totaled $38 billion, the Wall Street Journal recently reported. That figure is up 65 percent from a year ago.
Numbers from DataQuick, which tracks real estate trends, also show an uptick.
Jumbo loans made up 25 percent of July’s purchase loans in San Diego County. That’s up from 24.4 percent in June and 21.1 percent a year ago. July’s rate is the highest level since September 2007, when it was 26 percent. The local area peaked at 35.8 percent in January 2007, more than than a year before the collapse of mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
Jumbo loans are so named because they go beyond a loan limit that Freddie and Fannie, now regulated by the government, are willing to buy. DataQuick’s jumbo-loan stats are based on the old conforming limit of $417,000. That amount applies to many parts of the nation except for higher-priced areas like San Diego. Here, the FHA loan limit is $697,500 and the Freddie/Fannie limit is $546,250. (We still use DataQuick’s numbers because the $417,000 amount serves as a benchmark.)
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