Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are both toughening their credit score and down-payment rules as of April 1st. Some lenders are already factoring in the higher fee, which reduces the effectiveness of the stimulus efforts. Under the new guidelines, buyers with down payments of less than 25% will be charged a three-quarter point add-on penalty, no matter how high their credit score. Buyers of duplexes, where one unit is owner-occupied and the other is rented, will be charged a 1% add-on. Refinancers who take cash out will be charged as much as three points if they have a low to moderate equity stake.
This will definitely not make it any easier to get a mortgage. Actually, it will do the opposite. To read more about the fee increase, click here.