As Housing Needs Change Post-COVID, Loan Options are Adapting, Too

by Wendy Dawson

VP, Mortgage


Orignally published in the Spring 2021 issue of Wake Living Magazine

As we’re coming up on a year of adapting to COVID-19, there’s no doubt that we will continue to feel effects long after the virus is gone. Among the lasting changes will be how we work, and where we live.

Many of us spent the past year working from home, and may continue to on a regular basis. This prolonged shift in work is already changing housing needs for the foreseeable future. Home offices and flexible space are becoming more of a necessity, and while some people have adapted by carving out workspaces in their current homes, many are realizing that their options for working comfortably come down to moving, or improving.

For the majority, upgrading means finding financing. Fortunately, the current mortgage environment may be ideal for people looking to make a change.


The easiest solution is often simply finding a larger house.  This year, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have increased the limit for conventional mortgages to $548,250. This enables borrowers to buy bigger while still enjoying the lower rates of conventional loans. As an example, four- and five-bedroom homes larger than 4,000 square feet can be found below this dollar amount throughout Wake County.

In the past year, loan rates dropped quickly to historic lows, but are starting to rise again. So, while fixed rate loans are still good, as rates increase, Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) are becoming more attractive. The rates on ARMs are generally lower than a fixed rate loan, and given that typical borrowers only stay in the same home for 7 or 8 years, many will move again before the loan reprices.  

Jumbo mortgages are options for borrowers looking for even more space, or the combination of a large home and convenient location. Coastal Credit Union offers up to 95% financing on Jumbo mortgages up to $750,000. This enables someone to move into a larger home – in the 5,000-plus square foot range – without having an enormous down payment. This is particularly advantageous in our local market, where home values are projected to keep rising.


Some people love the home they have, but need an addition or better use of the space. For others, having a custom-built home that meets their exact needs is the way to go.  For both, a construction-to-permanent loan may be ideal. This enables you to do major renovations, buy land and build, or build on land you already own.

A unique aspect of the construction-to-permanent mortgages at Coastal is that it’s just one closing process, and loans are available up to 90% of your home value. The loan becomes available to pay as you go for construction, and once the project is complete, the balance converts into a traditional mortgage.

Getting Started

Ultimately, the right decision is what works best for you in the long run. Get started by speaking with a mortgage loan officer, who can help you determine the type of loan you’ll need, how much you’re qualified to borrow, and can walk you through the entire process from a simple online application, all the way to closing on your new home.

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