Banks offering mortgages with only 5% down payments

Good news for homebuyers who don’t have a lot of cash on hand: Banks are offering loans with down payments of just 5%.

After the housing bubble burst, buyers needed to come to the table with as much as 20% down or they had to turn to the Federal Housing Administration for a low down-payment loan.

But now banks like TD Bank, Bank of America(BAC, Fortune 500), and Wells Fargo (WFC,Fortune 500) are loosening the purse strings, offering loans with down payments that are as low as 5%.

TD Bank’s “Right Step” mortgage, for example, allows borrowers to secure a loan with a 5% down payment. It also allows them to receive as much as 2% of the sale price as a gift from a relative or other third party, so they would really only need 3% down.

Why the change of heart? Market opportunity for one thing.

FHA dominated the market for low down payment loans during the housing bust. Taking on all those risky loans, however, depleted the agency’s reserves and has forced it to increase costs.

Over the past couple of years, the FHA has been raising premiums. And this year, it started requiring borrowers to buy private mortgage insurance for the life of the loan — an expensive proposition that has sent many prospective borrowers looking elsewhere.

While the loans were far too risky for private lenders to take on before, rising home prices have made them less of a gamble. Plus, the banks think they can offer a better deal than FHA.

“As the FHA selectively reduced market share by increasing premiums, we introduced a substitute for FHA loans,” said Malcom Hollensteiner, the director of retail lending sales for TD Bank.

While the private lenders that are offering the 5%-down loans are also requiring borrowers to buy private mortgage insurance, they are only requiring them to do so until they build up 20% equity in the home.

The difference can really add up. Paying an insurance premium over the life of a $200,000, 30-year fixed-rate loan from FHA that carries an effective mortgage rate of 4.4% (5.75% when you tack on the insurance premium), can add up to nearly $60,000 over the life of the loan.

Of course, homeowners can always refinance to end their FHA insurance, but rates are so low that by the time an FHA borrower is able to refinance to a lower rate, it may not be worth it.

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About thenoelteam

As a Broker with RE/MAX Alliance, I work energetically for my clients whether they are a buyer or seller. I help you achieve your goal of owning a home or getting the best price for your home in the shortest time possible. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in communications and finance, I was licensed in 1977 and since then I have sold over 3600 properties amounting to over $1 billion in sales. I currently rank in the top 10 in home sales for Colorado. I offer the same quality of service and superior communication to all clients, ranging from starter homes to multi-million dollar estates, commercial and income properties, relocations and foreclosures My goal is to provide you with the best representation possible whether you are buying or selling. Over the years, one of the things that I've discovered is that there is a difference in the way individual Realtors do business. For me, I have always felt that honesty and personal integrity are the foundations upon which a successful business and career are built and sustained. I have an extensive background and knowledge base in real estate, including financing, which has enabled me to provide outstanding, quality advice and service not found with many agents today. My commitment to communication creates a positive relationship between my client and myself that results in a successful property sale or purchase. My passion for real estate, commitment to my clients and personal integrity has helped me to achieve success placing me in the top 1% of all brokers in nationwide. In my career, I have earned a number of awards and received considerable recognition for my success but the most significant recognition comes from the fact that over 75% of my business comes from past clients. My success is a true measure of my client satisfaction.
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