Record interest rates help homebuyers save years on future mortgage payments. But those looking for bigger homes or in expensive markets don’t reap the same rewards.

The average rate on a 30-year jumbo mortgage was 3.77% in mid-July, more than 0.4 percentage points above the average rate for smaller, compliant loans, according to Bankrate.com , a personal finance website. From mid-2015 to this spring, jumbo rates have consistently been lower than or equal to the rates on compliant loans.

Reversal is just one of the ways the coronavirus crisis has wreaks havoc on the mortgage market. The same force pushing most mortgage rates to record highs– investors who cram into safe-haven assets like government bonds – has lost favor with jumbo loans.

A jumbo loan is considered too big to sell to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In most markets it must be over $ 510,400 this year, but in the more expensive areas it must be over $ 765,600. Compliant loans meet guidelines for government support.

In recent years, banks have favored jumbo mortgages for their relatively low level of risk, as jumbo borrowers tend to be wealthier. Banks typically keep jumbo loans on their own books, betting that borrowers are less likely to default.


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