From my in-box today:

“A draft bill to be discussed at a House subcommittee hearing today would raise the minimum down payment to 5% and would also make a significant cut to the maximum size of loans backed by FHA in many parts of the country. The maximum FHA loan size in expensive parts of the country is already scheduled to go to $625,500 from $729,750 on Oct. 1. However, in areas where home prices are more modest, that limit is scheduled to fall as low as $271,050. The bill would allow those limits to fall even more—to 125% of a county’s median home price.” -Russell Doi, RPA Mortgage

These changes will be a hurdle for many buyers. Buyers with great cash flow but low assets may find themselves pushed out of the market. Buyers basing their price range on the current $729,750 loan limit may have to lower their sights by more than $100,000.

Buyers searching in the $800,000 price range and looking to use the maximum loan, your window of opportunity is closing. All buyers with low down payments should consider buying now. With buyer-friendly legislation, interest rates below 5% and home prices relatively low, now could be the best time to make the move.

This may also create a temporary market surge for sellers who can come quickly to the market, as buyers look to capitalize on the existing rules. Particularly if your home is in a price range that benefits from the large conforming loan limit (usually properties over $800,000) and for homes in the “starter” price range (under $500,000 in this area) where down payments tend to by lowest. Houses sell for the highest dollar amount when they appeal to the largest amount of buyers. The proposed changes are enough to restrict affordability and move some currently active buyers to the sidelines.