As mortgage lenders clamber to identify and serve various market niches,jumbo loans have come to the forefront once again. Larger loan amounts arein greater demand, and not just by upscale home buyers, as you might expect.There is no longer a standard jumbo-borrower profile.

When you considerthat the FNMA conventional loan cutoff is $203,150, it is quite conceivablethat in 1995, even first-time home buyers are finding themselves in thejumbo realm.

Savvy mortgage providers have determined that fulfilling the needs ofjumbo borrowers means addressing the issues of product availability andpricing. The competitive character of the current lending landscape hasprompted mortgage banks to revisit underwriting guidelines and pump up lendingportfolios with newly developed jumbo offerings. The consumer-friendly resultsoffer exciting new opportunities for jumbo borrowers to close!

Today, a wide variety of fixed- and adjustable-rate (ARM) jumbo programsare available, allowing home buyers to respond to the fluctuating rate environment.Down payments as low as 5% enable buyers to qualify with less upfront cash,or they can qualify for more of a home. An expanded catalog of eligibleproperty types now includes two- to four-family homes, condominiums, co-ops,second homes and investment properties. Loan amounts go as high as $1 million,and many new jumbo programs allow cash-out refinances.

All sorts of contemporary borrowers are likely to benefit from a renewedeffort by lenders to serve the jumbo mortgage market. Take, for instance,those homeowners looking to “trade up” but whose home may havedropped in value to the point that their original down payment is lost.Now, with a rising income, they find they can afford to move “up”to a larger home. Today’s jumbo programs enable these homeowners to obtainfinancing with a lower down payment. Another group of consumers who canbenefit are homeowners who may have originally made down payments of 10to 20 percent. They now wish to refinance, but their homes have decreasedin value, and 95% financing is necessary. In the past, they either wouldhave had to settle for a smaller loan or come up with a hefty down paymentsum. In the present mortgage marketplace, the attractive pricing of jumboloan products provides an unexpected, and often unexplored, financial resource.

Today’s home buyer needs to know what is available in the mortgage marketand understand which program best suits their individual needs. Prospectiveborrowers, or industry professionals seeking financing for a customer, shouldlook for a lender who can accommodate the widest range of financing scenarioswith a variety of mortgage products. Whether it be a jumbo or conventionalloan, financing a home should be affordable, convenient, and tailored tosuit a borrower’s financial situation.

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