With the once-overflowing river of refinancings gone dry, lenders are looking to drive up purchase business by expanding their repertoire of construction loan programs.
American Home Bank announced Thursday that this month it will provide a construction to permanent loan that allows borrowers to lock in low construction and permanent mortgage rates up front, with no long term lock fees and no payments until construction is completed.
"Our mission is to help each customer build, afford, and enjoy the home of their dreams," said American Home chief executive Jim Deitch in the announcement. "Homeowners will benefit from [American Home's] single loan closing and locked construction and permanent loan rates. This allows the customer to have certainty in their monthly payments when building a new home."
American Home says it specializes in new home construction to permanent lending and closed approximately $2.1 billion in loans in 2004.
The loan program is being marketed to builders who construct 20 to 250 units annually and initially being offered to builders in the South and MidAtlantic.
The loan program will use construction loan servicing technology, consisting of a Web-based, automated platform, to ensure that the builder receives draw payments within three days and a draw schedule customized to their building schedules. "This enables builders to break ground quickly and pay their subcontractors quickly," the Pennsylvania-based lender said.
The technology platform will also "shave days off" the inspection process, the bank said, as it will allow web-based inspections and all loan-and inspection-related documents and images to be posted and accessible online.
Michigan-based InterFirst Wholesale Mortgage Lending previously announced it began offering renovation and rehabilitation mortgage loans through its Construction Lending Center. The loans, granted as first mortgages, can be used to finance additions, structural repairs and renovations.
Because the loans are funded based on the home's value after the upgrades, borrowers are able to afford major renovation or repairs, the wholesale lender highlighted.
The "rehabilitation and renovation loans are essential to mortgage brokers seeking to expand their purchase market business," said InterFirst president William A. Newman in the announcement. "By providing the ideal solution for consumers considering the purchase of a home that requires some upgrades, rehabilitation and renovation loans enable mortgage brokers to continuously build two valuable referral sources: Realtors and builders."\
The loans form part of InterFirst "All in One" construction loan program, which reportedly simplifies the mortgage process for Realtors, builders and home buyers. "Unlike other construction loan products," the program gives borrowers the convenience of only one application, one closing and one set of closing costs, InterFirst said.