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We’ve written in the past how policy changes at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have made conventional home loans more competitive with FHA loans, especially when it comes to down payments. In this article, we’ll explain why conventional loans may be a more popular option among homebuyers in Washington and across the nation.
Loan origination data suggests that conventional loans in Washington State and nationwide are more popular than FHA loans. Both loan types offer their perks, as well as drawbacks, which is why buyers are encouraged to weight their options to choose which loan product is best.
That said, conventional loans tend to be more commonplace in residential mortgages.
According to recent data from the Urban Institute, conventional loans are more prevalent in Washington State and across the country for residential homebuyers. Here is a breakdown of mortgage originations from 2020:
Portfolio originations involve lenders who loan out funds to a borrower and keep the debt on their own portfolio Conventional loans are issued by a lender and then sold to another lender who will then service the loan to the borrower.
More home buyers in Washington and elsewhere in the country are turning to conventional loans when buying a home. And that’s not surprising when you consider how the minimum down payment for conventional mortgages has dropped in recent years.
Most home buyers in Washington State and nationwide use conventional loans to finance their purchases. Same goes for homeowners who are refinancing. This has long been the case. But the gap between conventional and FHA loan share seems to have widened even more over the last year or so, as shown in the report mentioned earlier.
Check out our mortgage loan limit tool for conventional, FHA, and VA loans.
There was a time when most conventional loans required a down payment of 5% or more. FHA, on the other hand, has long offered a down payment as low as 3.5% of the purchase price or appraised value. So in the past, a lot of home buyers in Washington flocked to the FHA program to enjoy a lower upfront investment.
But that has changed over the last couple of years. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two corporations that buy loans from lenders, have both increased their maximum allowable loan-to-value (LTV) ratios to 97%. That means eligible borrowers who use a conventional loan can now make down payments as low as 3%. In other words, Freddie and Fannie have put themselves in direct competition with FHA.
This is probably a big reason why FHA’s loan share in Washington State and nationwide has dropped over the last couple of years.
It’s also worth noting that the mortgage insurance applied to FHA loans stays with the borrower for as long as they keep the loan (at least in most cases). In contrast, private mortgage insurance for a conventional loan can usually can be cancelled once the homeowner has reached a certain equity level. And those borrowers who put down 20% or more on a conventional loan can typically avoid mortgage insurance altogether. So there’s a lot to consider.
This is just one way that the mortgage market has changed over the last few years. Home buyers in Washington have a lot of factors to consider when choosing a financing path. That’s why it’s so important to speak to a knowledgeable loan officer (like ours) about your options.
Will you need mortgage financing to buy a home in Washington State? We can help. Sammamish Mortgage has been serving buyers across the Pacific Northwest since 1992. We offer a wide variety of mortgage products and programs to borrowers across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado. Please contact us today with any financing-related questions you have.
There are a few key differences between VA, FHA, and USDA loans, in addition to each loan type’s eligibility requirements.
Military borrowers have three major loan programs to choose from when they want to secure a home loan: FHA, VA, and conventional loans. Read on to find out more and to check out our loan limits tool.