Low mortgage rates won't guarantee you a mortgage loan. Borrowers with less-than-perfect credit will continue to struggle with stringent underwriting requirements through the rest of the year and well into next year.
"The level of detail required to produce a compliant, conforming loan is immense," says Matt Hackett, underwriting manager at Equity Now, a mortgage lender in New York. "We are literally verifying that people have not opened accounts or even extended credit card balances during the process on the day a loan is closed. That is pretty intense."
The standards are not expected to change anytime soon, he says.
"Lenders are under tremendous pressure and criticism by Congress and the country for past actions in lowering the standards to allow more people to become homeowners," Peltier says. "But now they have overcorrected it. The standards are very aggressive."
The strict underwriting requirements keep potential buyers out of the market because they can't get a loan. "But no matter what the standards are, the problem is all the way around," Peltier says. Many potential homebuyers, even if they qualify for loans, worry about their job security because of the shaky economy and therefore don't want to commit to a mortgage.