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Jumbo Loans More Popular as Seattle Home Prices Continue to Climb

According to a recent report by Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), access to jumbo mortgage loan financing has increased during the summer of 2018. In and around Seattle, jumbo loans have become an increasingly popular financing method due to steadily rising home values.

Access to Jumbo Loans Increased in Seattle & Nationwide

According to Zillow, the median home value in Seattle, Washington was around $770,000 as of late summer 2018. That’s quite a bit higher than where it was just four or five years ago. And while price growth has slowed a bit, house values in the area are expected to continue climbing into 2019.

As a result of this trend, more and more Seattle home buyers are using jumbo loans to finance their purchases. That’s not surprising, when you consider that the median home value in the area is now higher than the conforming loan limit for King County.

Definition: A jumbo loan is basically a non-conforming mortgage loan that’s too big to be sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It exceeds the conforming limit for the county where the home is being purchased.

Today’s Seattle Mortgage Rates Jun, 25, Tue, 2019

While jumbo loans often have lower mortgage rates than conforming, they can also have stricter qualification criteria due to the larger amount being borrowed.

According to a recent industry report, jumbo loan access has increased in Seattle and elsewhere across the country. This report comes form the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), an industry group that also tracks home loan trends across the country.

Using data provided by Ellie Mae (a mortgage loan software company), MBA analysts determined that credit availability increased by 1.7% in July 2018. That indicates broader access to credit, which means that it has become generally easier for borrowers to qualify for financing.

According to Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting:

“Credit availability continued to expand, driven by an increase in conventional credit supply. More than half of the programs added were for jumbo loans, pushing the jumbo index to its fourth straight increase, and to its highest level since we started collecting these data. There was also continued growth in the conforming non-jumbo space, which reached its highest level since October 2013.”

Median Home Price Has Risen Above Conforming Limit

One of the reasons jumbo loans are in such demand across the Seattle area is that homes have become more expensive. Prices across the metro area have risen steadily over the last few years.

As a result, Seattle, Bellevue and Sammamish have become three of the priciest cities in the state of Washington. (The median home values for Bellevue and Sammamish are even higher than Seattle’s. Both are nearing the $1 million mark.)

So it’s only logical to see more home buyers seeking jumbo loans in Seattle, and in other relatively high-priced housing markets across the country.

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