Freddie Mac CEO: Lenders should offer more low down payment mortgages

It expands upon Freddie Mac’s existing Home Possible and Home Possible Advantage programs, which allows eligible borrowers to finance homes with down payments of as low as 3 percent.

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Another government-backed program that offers low down payment mortgages, this one through the USDA, can help you buy a home with no money down at all. You do have to buy in an eligible rural area, however, if you want home loans with no down payment from this program.

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Conforming loans allow for down payments as low as 3%, loan amounts are limited by the federal housing finance Agency. For larger loan amounts, nonconforming jumbo loans typically offer funding of up to $3 million, but have stricter eligibility criteria and higher rates. Find out more about mortgages and if a conventional loan is for you.

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With Freddie Mac’s Home Possible AdvantageSM, qualified borrowers can make a down payment of as little as 3%. Typically buyers make down payments of 5 to 20% of the purchase price. Forty percent of today’s homebuyers are making down payments that are less than 10%.

For example, Fannie and Freddie will buy loans with FICO scores as low as 620, but most banks require at least a 660 or 680, Gumbinger said. Similarly, lenders could always decide not to offer 3% down loans, even though Fannie and Freddie have agreed to eventually start buying them again.

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 · Since 1995, Fannie and Freddie’s holdings of residential debt have grown an average of 20% a year, and together they now carry $1.5 trillion in home loans and mortgage securities on their books–more than the top ten commercial banks combined.

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