It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything from the recently appointed Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA, Director Mel Watt. In fact, we can’t really recall anything he’s said publicly about the housing market and the mortgage giants he oversees, those of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac andcredit crunch easing the government-backed programs VA and FHA loans.

He did provide public comments today and while not crystal clear, he did make some announcements that lead one to believe qualifying for a mortgage will be easier, not harder now and in the future. And that’s good news for real estate investors who flip new or existing properties.

Watt’s predecessor, Edward DeMarco took the tough road to reform when he increased fees that Fannie and Freddie charged its lenders who then passed the charges down to borrowers. DeMarco also warned that it might be better to lower the maximum loan limits for Fannie and Freddie loans from its current $417,000 limit found in most areas of the country. However, doing so would mean any loan not at or below the limit would be subject to portfolio or jumbo pricing, meaning higher rates and fewer that can qualify. Director Watt stated that lowering current limits is not on the radar.

Another announcement concerned the FHA loan program. Typically the loan option of first resort for first time home buyers due to the lower down payment requirement, FHA loans also have dealt with a moving target as it relates to the mortgage insurance premium. This premium has increased to the point that it may not compete with other low down payment offerings from Fannie and Freddie. Watt announced a pilot program that significantly reduces the mortgage insurance premium by up to $10,000 over the life of the loan as long as the buyers complete a first time home buyer course.

Director Watt has always been considered as a friend to the consumer and it appears he’s just that. Easing the credit crunch for responsible borrowers is a solid way to help the economy and provide real estate investors with a deeper pool of buyers.