Lending Guidelines, Market Insight

Is That A Mortgage Approval Or Just An Illusion

February 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The economy’s improving but lending standards are not. Nationally and in Northwest Indiana, banks are making mortgage approvals harder to come by.

Underwriting guidelines are tightening.

The data comes from the Federal Reserve’s quarterly survey to its member banks.  The Fed asks senior bank loan officers around the country to report on “prime” residential mortgage guidelines over the most recent 3 months and whether they’ve tightened.

For the period October-December 2009:

  • Roughly 1 in 4 banks said guidelines tightened
  • Roughly 3 in 4 banks said guidelines were “basically unchanged”

Just 2 of 53 banks said its guidelines had loosened.

Combine the Fed’s survey with recent underwriting updates from the FHA and generally tougher standards for conventional loans and it’s clear that lenders are much more cautious about their loans than they were, say, in 2007.

Today’s home buyers and would-be refinancers in Chesterton, Crown Point, Highland, Munster, Portage, Saint John, Schererville and Valparaiso face a bevy of new borrowing hurdles including:

  • Higher minimum FICO scores
  • Larger downpayment requirements for purchases
  • Larger equity positions for refinances
  • Lower debt-to-income ratios

So, if you’re on the fence about whether now is a good time to buy a home, or make that refi, consider acting sooner rather than later.  It doesn’t necessarily matter that mortgage rates are low, or that there’s an up-to-$8,000 home purchase tax credit for households that qualify.  With each passing quarter, fewer and fewer home loan applicants are eligible to take advantage.

Contact Benchmark Mortgage in Northwest Indiana to Qualify for Your FREE FHA Home Loan Approval Today!

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James K Barath, CMPS®

James K Barath is a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist®, Certified FICO® Professional, Certified Military Housing Specialist® and your FHA Home Loan Expert. He is also a graduate of Purdue University, The CMPS Institute, Dale Carnegie Human Relations Course & Napoleon Hill Foundation's PMA Science of Success Class. It's your home and your future. It's his profession and his passion. He is ready to work for your best interest. Contact James for your FREE Home Loan Approval !  His Motto: I Facilitate the American Dream Through Responsible Mortgage Lending and Financial Literacy!

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