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Congress Extends Higher Loan Limits for GSEs

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives voted Thursday to extend increased loan limits on mortgages backed by ""Fannie Mae"":http://www.fanniemae.com/kb/index?page=home and ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com/.

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The loan limits, which were scheduled to expire at the end of 2010, have been extended for an additional nine months, and are now set to expire September 30, 2011.

Robert E. Story, Jr., chairman of the ""Mortgage Bankers Association"":http://mbaa.org/default.htm released a statement today commending the passage of the legislation.

""Extending the existing limits is essential to helping borrowers continue to have access to affordable long-term, fixed-rate mortgage credit in today's struggling economy,"" he said.

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He continued, ""The current limits have been a key component of keeping the mortgage market functioning, helping keep mortgage interest rates low for consumers who want to purchase a home or refinance an existing mortgage.""

The passage of the H.R. 3081: Making Continuing Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2011, and For Other Purposes bill also appropriates $20 billion for the ""Federal Housing Administration"":http://www.fha.gov (FHA) to continue making loan commitments though the end of 2010 from its General and Special Risk Insurance Funds.

About the FHA appropriation, Story said, ""Providing the FHA with additional multifamily commitment authority will help ensure funding for the continued development, renovation and mortgage refinancing necessary to preserve affordable rental housing in this country.""

Story added, ""This sector has been crucial during the recent housing downturn and credit crisis, and FHA needs the additional authority in order to ensure the market remains liquid.""

Congress voted in 2008 to raise the limits on GSE loans from $625,500 to $729,750 in the most expensive parts of the country.

Outside of those high-cost areas, the loan limit for FHA is $271,050 and for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac it is $417,000.

About Author: Joy Leopold

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