The number of loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs reached a record high in 2013, perhaps marking the peak of an upward trajectory that began after the housing market collapse.
The department guaranteed nearly 630,000 mortgage loans in fiscal year 2013, setting a new high just as the program enters its 70th year, said Mike Frueh, the director of the V.A.’s Loan Guaranty Program. The average loan was about $225,000, an amount that reflects the program’s value to “working-class America,” he said.
Contact the real estate appraisers at www.scappraisals.com; they are VA approved appraisers.
Calling the program’s growth “pretty incredible,” Chris Birk, the executive editor at Veterans United Home Loans, an online broker of V.A. loans, estimated that total loan volume has risen 372 percent since fiscal 2007.
Another factor is the tough lending climate of the last six years, which has made a V.A. loan the most viable option for many service members. “It’s become so much more difficult for military personnel and veterans to qualify for conventional financing,” Mr. Birk said. “This is the only path to homeownership for many.”
One big advantage for first-time buyers is that the loans do not require a down payment. About 90 percent of all V.A.-guaranteed purchase loans are made without any money down. “Our average borrower has about $7,000 in liquid assets at the time they close the loan,” Mr. Frueh said. “That’s not enough to make a significant down payment.”
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