If falling home values is what prompted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to tighten mortgage guidelines in 2007 and 2008, America’s mortgage applicants may get their long-awaiting loosening within the next 18 months.
According to a government report, the values of homes financed with conforming mortgages rose for the third straight month in February.
This is an important piece of data because as values rise on the homes against which conforming mortgages are made, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s respective loan portfolios get less risky.
With less risk related to home values, there’s an opening for the agencies to assume more risk on individual borrowers.
A guideline loosening would help home loan applicants that currently find themselves ineligible for conforming mortgage financing — often the least costly source for mortgage money.
Pressed for profitability, it’s unlikely that Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will loosen their respective guidelines prior to 2010, but if the Home Price Index continues to show improvement, it’s good news for the agencies which, in turn, is good news for people in want of a home loan.
HPI shows February 2009 home values on par with the values of April 2005.