Mortgage fees are about to go up, but it might be too late to do
anything about it if you haven't already locked in a loan.
As of April 1, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be raising the
fee they charge lenders for guaranteeing mortgages, charging an
additional 0.1 percent of the loan amount on top of the current
charge. That's expected to drive up interest rates about one-eighth
of a percent as those costs are passed along to borrowers.
Although the increase doesn't officially take effect for nearly
a month, lenders are already figuring it into loan offers made to
consumers, since borrowers typically seek rate locks of 30 to 60
days when applying for a mortgage.
Could move rates off historic lows
The increase means that 30-year mortgage rates may soon move off
the all-time lows where they have been stalled in recent months and
back toward the 4 percent mark. According to Freddie Mac's weekly
rate survey, 30-year rates have not been above the 4 percent level
since last October.
The rate increase is part of the agreement to offset the cost of
payroll tax cuts, reached last December. The fees will add an
estimated $200 per year onto the cost of a $200,000 mortgage.
Borrowers can avoid the fee by not obtaining mortgages
guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. However, such mortgages
typically come with higher interest rates due to the lack of the
guarantee Fannie and Freddie provide.
Different rules for FHA, VA
The fee increase does not apply to FHA or VA mortgages. However,
FHA mortgages will be seeing their own fee increases, including a
boost of 0.1 percent on their annual insurance premium, which will
rise to a maximum of 1.25 percent on 30-year loans as of April 1,
while the upfront mortgage insurance premium charged as a one-time
fee at the time the loan is obtained will rise to 1.75 percent, up
from 1 percent currently.
The annual insurance fee on FHA mortgages in excess of $625,000
will rise by 0.35 percentage points on June 1.
VA loan fees will remain unchanged.