Fannie Mae will ease its loan qualification requirements, raising its debt-to-income ceiling from 45 percent to 50 percent on July 29. The move could make it easier for a larger number of new buyers to qualify for a mortgage, particularly millennials who may be burdened with student loan debt.
The debt-to-income ratio compares a person’s gross monthly income with his or her monthly payment on all debt accounts, including auto loans, credit cards, and student loans. It also factors in the projected payments on the new mortgage. Lenders see applicants with lower debt-to-income ratios as less at risk of defaulting.
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration have exemptions that allow them to buy or insure loans with higher ratios than the federal rules, which are set at a maximum of 43 percent. The FHA allows debt-to-income ratios of more than 50 percent in some cases. In a recent study, Fannie Mae researchers looked at more than a decade and a half of data from borrowers with debt-to-income ratios in the 45 percent to 50 percent range. They found that a significant number of these borrowers had good credit and were not prone to default.
Not everyone with a debt-to-income ratio of below 50 percent will be approved. Borrowers will still be closely vetted by Fannie’s underwriting system to examine their complete application, including income, down payment, credit scores, and more.
Source: C.A.R., Fannie Mae