Freddie Mac To Buy Conforming Jumbo Mortgages In High-Cost Markets

Freddie Mac has agreed to purchase billions of dollars of new conforming jumbo mortgages with original loan amounts up to $729,750 from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Chase, CitiMortgage and WaMu. Freddie Mac conforming jumbo mortgages can be used to finance properties in hundreds of high-cost markets designated in the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 that President Bush signed on Feb. 13.

This initiative marks the first large-scale effort to jump-start the stalled jumbo mortgage market under the Economic Stimulus Act, which temporarily raised Freddie Mac's conforming loan limit from $417,000 to as much as $729,750 through Dec. 31, the government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) says. Freddie Mac's purchase of conforming jumbo mortgages is restricted to 224 high cost markets where median home prices exceed Freddie Mac's $417,000 loan limit.

As a result, qualified borrowers can now apply for an array of fixed-rate or adjustable-rate conforming jumbo mortgages that will be less expensive than nonconforming jumbo loans in high-cost markets. Borrowers can use Freddie Mac conforming jumbo mortgages to finance up to 90% of a property's value.

Because the GSE is buying the new conforming jumbo mortgages for its portfolio, Wells Fargo, Chase, CitiMortgage and WaMu will have instant liquidity and can offer a stable jumbo market rate to qualified borrowers. By working with Wells Fargo, Chase, CitiMortgage, WaMu and other national lenders, Freddie Mac expects to finance between $10 and $15 billion in new jumbo mortgages in 2008.

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