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VA loan limits to be lifted in 2020

VA says lender guidelines will be released ahead of January effective date

Last month, President Donald Trump signed a bill into law that allows the Department of Veterans Affairs to back loans that exceed the conforming loan limit.

The bill, H.R. 299, enables homebuyers using a VA loan to borrow above the 2019 limit of $484,350 for most counties, without any down payment. 

A VA spokesperson told HousingWire that the loan limit will be lifted for loans that are guaranteed on or after January 1, 2020, and that guidance for lenders would be coming ahead of this date, published on the VA home loan circular page of its website.

The VA also clarified other changes that will go into effect as a result of the bill.

In addition to alleviating limits for veterans looking to purchase a home, H.R. 299 temporarily increase rates for certain loans by 0.15-0.30%, the VA said.

The slight bump in loan fees is intended to help finance health care costs for veterans who are suffering the effects of Agent Orange exposure as a result of their service.

Additional changes to the VA’s loan guaranty program include the elimination of funding fee differences for borrowers who are veterans versus those who are members of the Reserve.

It also removes the loan limit for the Native American Direct Loan Program, exempts Purple Heart recipients from paying loan fees, and authorizes VA-designated appraisers to rely on third parties for appraisal-related information.

The bill’s passage comes after years of lobbying on behalf of numerous trade groups, including the National Association of Realtors, which teamed with other housing industry trade groups to ensure veterans’ health care benefits would be extended without a significant increase to VA loan fees.

Now that the bill has passed, it is expected to “fast-track” disability compensation for as many as 90,000 affected former service members, according to military.com.

The VA said it does not have any formal projections as to how the changes brought on by the bill will its home loan guaranty program.

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