Washington is trying to ease the mortgage crisis by helping people refinance into home loans with better terms. But one group is being left on the sidelines: borrowers with loans too big to qualify for government backing… Instead, it focuses on middle-income consumers who have lower, so-called conforming loans. Such loans top out at $417,000 in most parts of the country, though they can run as high as $729,750 in certain pricier markets, such as parts of California, New York and Hawaii…Anything bigger is called a “jumbo” loan — and not only is the government ignoring this segment of the market, so are lenders, few of whom are originating or refinancing jumbo mortgages.
By Nick Timiraos, Feb. 23, 2009, WSJ

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