The country’s biggest provider of mortgage money has eliminated its popular financing plan for foreclosed properties, another sign the housing market has returned to healthy and hearty. The Fannie Mae HomePath program terminates October 6. Not only did it provide attractive financing for owner-occupants, but it also included a financing option for second homebuyers and investors. The HomePath financing program offered 3 percent down-payment options for owner-residents, 10 percent down payments for second homebuyers and 15 percent down-payment plans for investors on Fannie Mae REO properties. Participating borrowers usually need a 660 credit score and they are required to borrow at least $50,000. Down payment (at least 3 percent) can be funded by savings, employer, gift, grant, or a loan from a nonprofit organization, state or local government. Other components that made this program attractive are no appraisal and no Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). All of this afforded a very quick closing time, typically about two weeks. Eliminating those two components was huge. Accurate and timely appraisals have been a hotly contested topic in the housing industry over the past few years as many neighborhoods have dipped (sometimes yo-yoed) in value. Mortgage insurance, typically required on loans with less than a 20 percent down payment, can be costly. Not having to pay mortgage insurance would equal an approximate .75 savings on an interest rate (4.5 percent instead of 5.25 percent).
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