Mortgage Blog





It’s the No. 1 reason that mortgage applicants nationwide get rejected: They’re carrying too much debt relative to their monthly incomes. It’s especially a deal-killer for millennials early in their careers who have to stretch every month to pay the rent and other bills.

But here’s some good news: The country’s largest source of mortgage money, Fannie Mae, soon plans to ease its debt-to-income (DTI) requirements, potentially opening the door to home-purchase mortgages for large numbers of new buyers. Fannie will be raising its DTI ceiling from the current 45 percent to 50 percent as of July 29.

DTI is essentially a ratio that compares your gross monthly income with your monthly payment on all debt accounts — credit cards, auto loans, student loans, etc., plus the projected payments on the new mortgage you are seeking. If you’ve got $7,000 in household monthly income and $3,000 in monthly debt payments, your DTI is 43 percent. If you’ve got the same income but $4,000 in debt payments, your DTI is 57 percent.

In the mortgage arena, the lower your DTI ratio, the better. The federal “qualified mortgage” rule sets the safe maximum at 43 percent, though Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration all have exemptions allowing them to buy or insure loans with higher ratios.

Studies by the Federal Reserve and FICO, the credit-scoring company, have documented that high DTIs doom more mortgage applications — and are viewed more critically by lenders — than any other factor. And for good reason: If you are loaded down with monthly debts, you’re at a higher statistical risk of falling behind on your mortgage payments.

Using data spanning nearly a decade and a half, Fannie’s researchers analyzed borrowers with DTIs in the 45 percent to 50 percent range and found that a significant number of them actually have good credit and are not prone to default.

“We feel very comfortable” with the increased DTI ceiling, Steve Holden, Fannie’s vice president of single family analytics, told me in an interview. “What we’re seeing is that a lot of borrowers have other factors” in their credit profiles that reduce the risks associated with slightly higher DTIs. They make significant down payments, for example, or they’ve got reserves of 12 months or more set aside to handle a financial emergency without missing a mortgage payment. As a result, analysts concluded that there’s some room to treat these applicants differently than before.


Lenders are welcoming the change. “It’s a big deal,” says Joe Petrowsky, owner of Right Trac Financial Group in the Hartford, Conn., area. “There are so many clients that end up above the 45 percent debt ratio threshold” who get rejected, he said. Now they’ve got a shot.

That doesn’t mean everybody with a DTI higher than 45 percent is going to get approved under the new policy. As an applicant, you’ll still need to be vetted by Fannie’s automated underwriting system, which examines the totality of your application, including the down payment, your income, credit scores, loan-to-value ratio and a slew of other indexes. The system weighs the good and the not-so-good in your application, and then decides whether you meet the company’s standards.

Fannie’s change may be most important to home buyers whose DTIs now limit them to just one option in the marketplace: an FHA loan. FHA traditionally has been generous when it comes to debt burdens: It allows DTIs well in excess of 50 percent for some borrowers.But FHA has a major drawback, in Petrowsky’s view. It requires most borrowers to keep paying mortgage insurance premiums for the life of the loan — long after any real risk of financial loss to FHA has disappeared. Fannie Mae, on the other hand, uses private mortgage insurance on its low-down-payment loans, the premiums on which are canceled automatically when the principal balance drops to 78 percent of the original property value. Freddie Mac, another major player in the market, also uses private mortgage insurance and sometimes will accept loan applications with DTIs above 45 percent.

The big downside with both Fannie and Freddie: Their credit-score requirements tend to be more restrictive than FHA’s. So if you have a FICO score in the mid-600s and high debt burdens, FHA may still be your main mortgage option, even with Fannie’s new, friendlier approach on DTI.


By Kenneth R. Harney, The Washington Post

Posted by Jill Kohler on June 10th, 2017 6:48 AM

Programs expand mortgage eligibility for those burdened by student debt




Last week, Fannie Mae unveiled three new programs to help aid current homeowners and future homebuyers who are blocked from eligibility and financing by the burden of student debt.

Fannie Mae first announced an expansion of its cash-out refinance program with SoFi. The GSE also announced the implementation of two other programs to help widen eligibility for borrowers. One helps potential borrowers whose debt is paid by others. The third solution allows lenders to accept student loan payment information on credit reports, making it easier for student debt holders to qualify for a loan.  

So, how do these new programs help current homeowners and future homebuyers who are bogged down by student debt when financing a home? Here’s an outline of what each new solution does and how it can help.

Student loan cash-out refinance

This option offers homeowners the flexibility to pay off high interest rate student debt while potentially refinancing to a lower mortgage interest rate.

Johnathan Lawless, Fannie Mae’s director of consumer outreach, said this option is ideal for parents who may have home equity to cash in on because it could be used to pay for their child’s education debt. But Lawless did warn that refinancing may negate any benefits the borrower receives in the original loan contract, such as the ability to enter into forbearance or an income-based repayment plan.  

Debt paid by others

Fannie Mae has widened borrower eligibility by excluding from the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio any non-mortgage debt, such as credit cards, auto loans, and student loans, that are paid by someone else.

Student debt payment calculation

Fannie Mae has changed how student debt is calculated when applying for a mortgage, making it more likely for borrowers with student debt to qualify for a loan by enabling lenders to accept student loan payment information on credit reports.

Lawless explained that if you’re on an income-based repayment plan, the lower payments will now count toward your debt-to-income ratio to help determine mortgage eligibility.

“The day we announced this, I received a call from a lender who had a borrower on one of these plans and their monthly payment was $100, but because of the policy on how to put the debt into the ratio, they were actually using $600,” Lawless said. “We announced the change and they went back into the application and updated it to $100 and it went from not being approved to being approved.”


Betsy Mayotte, director of consumer outreach and compliance for American Student Assistance, an organization aimed at helping students and universities overcome student debt, said the changes are exciting and reasonable.

“This could be a great option for Parent PLUS and Grad PLUS loans,” she said.

Mayotte stressed that borrowers should become more educated about their options when exploring how to pay for student debt.

“People get so caught up in interest rates,” Mayotte explained. “They get tunnel vision and may not see what they’re giving up. Federal loans have discharge options if something terrible happens, such as disability and death.”

Mayotte encouraged borrowers to look into any program with their eyes wide open and to think about the long-term implications, cautioning that “if you used home equity to pay off $60,000 in student loans, that could be a $600 payment a month and if you can’t afford that, you could lose your house.”

Source:  housingwire.com








get prequalified
Posted by Jill Kohler on May 4th, 2017 8:06 AM

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