Freddie Mac will begin offering mortgages with down payments of only 3 percent — the first time they've been this low on the GSE's loans in nearly five years — starting March 23. The move is expected to make more credit available to entry-level borrowers.
Opening the Credit Box
"By launching our 3 percent down payment mortgage now, at the start of the spring homebuying season, lenders will be ready to serve qualified working families who are ready to buy and keep the recovery going," Dave Lowman, executive vice president for Freddie Mac's single-family business, writes on its Executive Perspectives blog.
Fannie Mae began insuring 3 percent down payment mortgages in December.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, recently said it wanted to make it a priority to "work to increase access to mortgage credit for creditworthy borrowers," according to FHFA's 2015 Scorecard for Freddie Mac. Tight credit conditions and high down payment requirements in recent years have been blamed for sidelining potential home buyers and causing a sluggish housing recovery.
Besides 3 percent down payments, Freddie Mac's Our Home Possible Advantage Program, which is aimed at supporting first-time buyers as well as low- and moderate-income borrowers, is allowing no minimum from borrowers in contributions. That means parents or relatives now can cover 100 percent of the down payment through gifts.