Legislation, Lending Guidelines

New FHA Guidelines Will Be Tougher and More Expensive

January 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Securing an FHA mortgage is about to get more expensive.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the Federal Housing Authority outlined policy changes to its mortgage assistance program. The shift is meant to both reduce the government group’s portfolio risk while strengthening its overall financials.

For consumers in Northwest Indiana, the changes mean higher costs.

As listed in the official announcement, there are 3 major guideline updates for the FHA:

  1. Upfront mortgage insurance premiums are increasing to 2.25% from 1.75%
  2. Minimum downpayments for applicants with sub-580 FICOs are rising to 10 percent
  3. Seller concessions are being limited to 3%, down from today’s allowable 6%

Furthermore, FHA has appealed Congress to raise an FHA borrowers’ monthly mortgage insurance premiums.

To read the FHA’s statement, it’s clear what the group is trying to balance.  On one side, the FHA wants to provide affordable financing to families that need it. That’s its mission statement. On the other side, though, the FHA must manage the risk that comes with insuring lesser-quality loans.

To that end, FHA is stepping up its enforcement of “bad lenders” in hopes of stopping problems where they start.

Also in its new policies, the FHA is introducing a “termination clause”. If banks or loan officers that produce more than their fair share of bad loans, they lose their right to originate FHA mortgages.

As a result, homebuyers in Chesterton, Crown Point, Highland, Munster, Portage, Saint John, Schererville and Valparaiso should expect tougher FHA underwriting in 2010. Not because the FHA says so, necessarily, but because banks don’t want to do “bad loans”.  Lenders are incented to turn down at-risk applicants and, already, we’re seeing examples of this. Despite FHA allowing 580 FICOs and lower, many banks have made 620 their minimum.

Some have other guideline overlays, too.

The FHA’s new guidelines don’t go into effect until spring.  So, between now and then, the old guidelines will apply.  Therefore, if you know you’re going to need an FHA home loan in the next few months in Northwest Indiana, consider moving up your time-frame.

If nothing else, you’ll save some money at closing.

Contact Benchmark Mortgage in Northwest Indiana to Qualify for Your FREE FHA Home Loan Approval Today!

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James K Barath, CMPS®

James K Barath is a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist®, Certified FICO® Professional, Certified Military Housing Specialist® and your FHA Home Loan Expert. He is also a graduate of Purdue University, The CMPS Institute, Dale Carnegie Human Relations Course & Napoleon Hill Foundation's PMA Science of Success Class. It's your home and your future. It's his profession and his passion. He is ready to work for your best interest. Contact James for your FREE Home Loan Approval !  His Motto: I Facilitate the American Dream Through Responsible Mortgage Lending and Financial Literacy!

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