Last week Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. which was signed by President Obama at the beginning of this week.
Among other things, the stimulus legislation resets the conforming loan limit cap at $729,750, up from $625,500 and reinstates these 2008 loan limits through Dec. 31, 2009.
The bill also increases the first-time home buyer credit from $7,500 to $8,000, and removes the requirement that the credit be paid back if the buyer stays in the home for at least three years. It also extends the expiration date for the credit from July 1 to Dec. 1, 2009. Homebuyers must have purchased a home after Jan. 1, 2009, and before Dec. 1, 2009, to be eligible for the $8,000 credit.
Earlier today, President Obama unveiled the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, which will offer assistance to as many as 9 million homeowners, while attempting to prevent the destructive impact of foreclosures on families and communities.The plan contains three main components, and only applies to primary residences.
1) The first component is directed toward homeowners suffering from falling housing prices who still have equity in their homes, but no longer have the 20 percent equity needed to refinance. Under the plan, homeowners who have conforming loans owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will be allowed to refinance their homes, even if they do not have 20 percent equity left in the house.
2) The second component, known as the Homeowner Stability Initiative, is designed to assist homeowners who are “underwater” on their mortgages. The $75 billion initiative will bring together lenders, servicers, and the government so that all stakeholders share in the cost of the modification.
3) The final aspect of the Homeowner Stability Initiative is creating clear and consistent guidelines for loan modifications.