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‘Jumbo conforming’ limits in play again

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Lawmakers haven't given up on the idea of restoring emergency loan limits for government-backed mortgages in high-cost housing markets to levels in place during much of the housing downturn, with a handful of Republicans joining Senate Democrats in backing such a move.In a 60-38 vote Thursday, the Senate approved an amendment to a spending bill that would restore the $729,750 ceiling that was first put in place in 2008 to allow Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration to back what were previously considered "jumbo" mortgages not eligible for government support.In addition to propping up the ceiling, which dropped to $625,500 on Oct. 1, the Senate amendment would also restore through 2013 the formula in use during much of the downturn for determining the upper loan limit in high-cost housing markets.For much of the last four years, the so-called "jumbo conforming" loan limit was determined by multiplying the median home price in high-cost market...