ACTIVE REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN BIRMINGHAM AL – 11/21/2011
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Lawmakers have voted to restore loan limits for the Federal Housing Administration to pre-Oct. 1 levels, but the reprieve won’t apply to Fannie Mae and Fannie Mac. House and Senate leaders signed off Monday on a conference report for a “minibus” appropriations bill that included language restoring FHA’s ability to insure loans of up to $729,750 in high cost markets through 2013.
Because the minibus appropriations package also contains a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown and continue federal operations until Dec. 16 — or until Congress completes nine remaining appropriations bills — lawmakers didn’t dally in approving it. The House approved the bill today in a 298-121 vote, and it sailed through the Senate 70-30. The ceiling on so-called jumbo conforming loans — raised in 2008 after the collapse of secondary markets for loans that don’t lack government backing — dropped, as scheduled, to $625,500 last month.
The formula for determining the jumbo conforming loan limit within that ceiling in high cost housing markets, which for much of the last four years has been 125 percent of median home price, was also trimmed back to 115 percent of median home price. Last month, Senate lawmakers approved an amendment to the same spending bill approved today that would have restored through 2013 the $729,750 ceiling and 125 percent formula in high cost markets for FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But there were doubts that the proposal would fly in the Republican-controlled House.
The compromise plan hammered out Monday by a Conference Committee excluded Fannie and Freddie. A summary of the “minibus” bill issued by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, said the bill does not increase the limits for Fannie and Freddie, which have been “under public scrutiny for their questionable businesses practices and use of billions in federal bailout funds, some of which have been used for extravagant management bonuses.”
FHA, the summary said, “is subject to greater congressional scrutiny and oversight.” FHA expects claims on defaulted mortgages to climb to new peaks during the next two years, but is unlikely to require a taxpayer bailout unless there’s another recession, according to assessments by independent actuaries.