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The National Association OF REALTORS® thanked Congress for speedy action in passing a congressional resolution that would extend the current higher Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA loan limits through 2010. The present loan limits would expire at the end of 2009 and revert to previous lower limits. 

The resolution would extend the present conventional loan limits for Fannie and Freddie through the 2010 calendar year at 125 percent of local median home sales prices, up to a maximum of $729,750 in high-cost areas. The floor for FHA is $271,050; the floor for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loan limits is $417,000.

President Obama signed the legislation October 31.

Source: NAR (10/30/2009)

The appraisal system imposed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last May is under attack by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee and could be on its way out.

The “Home Valuation Code of Conduct” could be terminated by the proposed new Consumer Financial Protection Agency under a bipartisan amendment approved by the House committee.

The amendment would require the new agency’s director to replace the code with a set of rules developed through regular administrative procedures and pubic comment periods used by all federal agencies. The valuation code was the product of a settlement among New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Critics say the code created more problems than it solved and has encouraged lenders to use inexperienced appraisers who don’t know the areas where they are doing the work, which is resulting in lowball valuations as well as higher fees.

The legislation under which this code would be scrapped is likely to pass the full House, but may have a tough road in the Senate.

Source: The Washington Post Writers Group, Kenneth Harney (10/30/2009)


Servicers must not renegotiate sales commissions below the amount agreed to by real estate brokers and sellers, Freddie Mac says in written confirmation of a policy that has been publicly stated but not confirmed in writing.

If the negotiated commission exceeds six percent, servicers are required to limit it to six percent. The confirmed policy is consistent with Fannie Mae policy on the same issue.  NAR has asked Freddie Mac to establish an appeals process for cases when servicers refuse to comply with the commission policy. Watch and link to a video with NAR Government Affairs on the regulatory picture for short sales.



The Greater Boston area is the fourth-safest place among the largest 40 cities in the U.S., according to a ranking by Forbes.

The rankings take into account each city’s 2008 levels of violent crime, workplace fatalities rates, traffic death rates and natural disaster risk.

The Boston-Cambridge-Quincy statistical area ranked 10th in violent crime and fifth in workplace fatality rates. Greater Boston had the best ranking when it comes to traffic-related fatalities and ranked 28th in natural disaster risk.

With 4.5 million residents, the area was the largest metro included in Forbes' top five safest cities.