Loan limits increase for Feddie Mac and Fannie Mae

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Real Estate

This time last year, there was one thing most real estate economists could agree on: Mortgage rates would keep drifting upward. Economists at the Mortgage Bankers Association and Freddie Mac predicted that rates on a 30-year mortgage would hover at 5.1 percent in 2019, while’s chief economist thought rates might touch 5.5 percent by the end of this year. Zillow predicted rates would hit 5.8 percent, “territory not seen since the dark days of 2008.’’

Instead, mortgage rates seemed to hop on an L.L.Bean toboggan last December and coast merrily downhill to a three-year low in September. That fueled a flurry of refinancing and the best quarter for mortgage lenders in more than a decade.

“We’re seeing a massive uptick in refinance activity this year that we did not plan on,’’ said Shant Bonosian, branch manager at Guaranteed Rate in Waltham. “We’ve refinanced more people already this year than we have in the last three years combined.’’

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