As the housing market in the United States continues its gradual recovery, 2013 kicked off with lower mortgage interest rates and and some interesting trends for jumbo loans. Current home mortgage rates are as low as they were for most of the 2012 holiday season, and jumbo loans are enjoying increased demand.
Wall Street investors welcomed the New Year with optimism thanks to the eleventh hour resolution by Congress on the fiscal cliff. The financial exchanges experience some volatility, but trading of mortgage-backed securities did not affect current home mortgage rates. The average for the benchmark 30-year fixed conventional mortgage held on to 3.125 percent, and its 15-year fixed counterpart is at 2.375 percent.
Current home mortgage rates for jumbo loans are 3.25 percent for the 30-year fixed and 2.7 percent for the 15-year fixed product. The jumbo 5/1 Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) is at an all-time low of 2.375 percent. Even as demand for jumbo mortgages continues in 2013, rates are expected to remain low through January of 2013.
The Year of the Jumbo
Regulators at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) did not change the conforming loan limits for 2013. Jumbo loans begin at $417,000 in most of the country, although in places like the San Francisco Bay Area they start at $625,500. The highest loan limits are in Alaska and Hawaii. The jumbo loan market is poised to make a big comeback in 2013, particularly in high-end housing markets.
Home prices are bouncing back from their lows experienced from 2008 to 2011. Many real estate analysts agree that 2012 was the year of the housing bottom in terms of pricing. With home prices on the upswing and rates comparable to those of conventional home loans, a renewed interest in jumbo mortgages is expected to bring some normalcy to the real estate market.
Further evidence of 2013 as the year of the jumbo loan bonanza is a recent article in the Wall Street Journal that deals with the burgeoning trend of paying for discount points upfront when shopping for jumbo mortgages. Borrowers with comfortable cash reserves can negotiate the payment of discount points and bring cash to the closing table. This is a financial strategy that can potentially save mortgage borrowers from paying tens of thousands of dollars over a 30-year fixed term. In some cases, mortgage applicants can pay down just a fraction of a point.