In recent weeks, mortgages quietly became harder to get.
Mortgage insurers require higher credit scores and bigger down payments than they did a month or two ago. It helps to have a high credit score.
Bob Moulton, president of Americana Mortgage of Manhasset, N.Y., has a client who wanted a jumbo, interest-only mortgage. Moulton tried to get the client a loan through Astoria Federal Savings, which required a credit score of 740. Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which set guidelines for standardized mortgages, announced that they would enforce a "declining markets" policy, which requires higher down payments for loans where house prices are falling.
Borrowers and lenders complained that the policy was scuttling deals. A Fannie spokeswoman explained that the company could ditch the declining-market policy because the new loan software "will limit risk layering and assess each loan more precisely."
Because of Fannie’s stricter standards, conforming lenders will require credit scores of at least 580.