FHA Loan Limits Increase - Bills.com Launches Know Your Limits

Program helps determine eligibility for new, higher jumbo-conforming, FHA loans

SAN MATEO, Calif., March 17, 2008 — Today, Bills.com will launch "Know Your Limits," a quick, easy-to-use program to help homeowners determine if they are eligible for new, higher-limit loans passed in the economic stimulus package.

Last week, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight raised the size of loans that can be guaranteed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The new loan limits will stay in effect through the end of the year. Also, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) raised the size of the loans that the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) can insure.

Previously, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae could insure only mortgages of up to $417,000. That meant — even with a 20 percent down payment — only buyers of homes costing $521,500 or less were eligible for these mortgages. The new "jumbo-conforming" loan limits vary by area, with the maximum loan amount 125 percent of the median home value of the county in which the home is located. The new loan limits affect homeowners and buyers in 71 metropolitan areas and 21 counties outside of those metro areas, reaching as high as $793,750 in Honolulu.

Loan limits for FHA-insured loans were even lower, with a previous limit of $362,790. Now, mortgages of up to $729,750 can qualify for FHA insurance.

For homeowners and home buyers

Determining eligibility for the new loans can be challenging, says Ethan Ewing, president of Bills.com. With the "Know Your Limits" program, applicants can complete a simple form (see Bills.com FHASecure) and receive an immediate assessment of their eligibility, Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae and FHA loan limits, and up to four lender matches for their specific situations.

For mortgage brokers and lenders

As part of the "Know Your Limits" program, mortgage lenders and brokers can reach homeowners eligible for the new loans quickly and easily. The "FHA Select" program will match lenders and brokers with applicants whose desired loan amount is below the FHA loan limit for their county of residence. A corresponding "Stimulus Select" program will match applicants who are eligible for jumbo-conforming loans. Both FHA Select and Stimulus Select are activated on a filter-by-filter basis, and are optional.

"The new limits will make it easier for buyers to get loans, which should help the home markets get moving again," says Ethan Ewing, president of Bills.com. "We’ve been in a situation where the average cost of a home in large areas of the country was far greater than available loans. These new programs will be of great assistance to home buyers, homeowners who have been unable to get out of their adjustable-rate mortgages, as well as the broker/lender community."

Based in San Mateo, Calif., Bills.com is a free one-stop online portal where consumers can educate themselves about complex personal finance issues and comparison shop for products and services including credit cards, debt relief assistance, insurance, mortgages and other loans.

Since 2002, Bills.com has served more than 30,000 customers nationwide while managing more than $1 billion in consumer debt. Bills.com is a division of Freedom Financial Network, LLC, whose co-founders and CEOs, Andrew Housser and Brad Stroh, have been named Northern California finalists in Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.