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New FHA Rules

Dean Hartman Hammering it Home

Today, after weeks of speculation, the FHA announced their plan to secure the solvency of the Insurance Fund.  And it is NOT good news for Homebuyers, and therefore, NOT good news for sellers either.  I’ll discuss the particulars in a minute; but first, let’s look at how this is the THIRD nail in the coffin for First Time Homebuyers (who we all know have fueled the market for the past year).

Nail #1– The end of the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit.  While there is some debate on how big an impact the Tax Credit has had, there can be no debate on how its elimination (when combined with the other two nails) appears devastating to continuing the momentum.

Nail #2– The slowing, and eventual end, to the Federal Government’s purchase of Mortgage Backed Securities.  In 2008, 99% of all loans sold in the Secondary Market were bought by Uncle Sam.  When he moves to the sidelines on March 31, rates will climb swiftly.  It’s the only way to attract other buyers of MBSs back into the market.  Bottom line mortgage rates are 1-1.5% higher than most buyers have become used to……and home sellers are reluctant (or financially unable) to reduce prices 10-15% further to compensate.

Today, we add Nail #3- Basically to lessen defaults on FHA loans (which have constituted more than 50% of the loans closed in some markets), guidelines are being tightened….even though we don’t have a definitive date for it yet.

  • Lower FICO scores (below 580) will now require a 10% down payment….a significant jump from the current 3.5% down payment.
  • The Up Front Mortgage Insurance Premium is being raised from 1.75% to 2.25%. While this amount can be financed into the loan, it still raises the cost of home buying.
  • The allowable seller’s concession (by which sellers have been able to pay closing costs on behalf of their purchaser) has been slashed from 6% to 3%.

While I understand requiring more cash in the deal for people who have not demonstrated good credit histories and raising the insurance costs to defray losses, I personally do not believe in reducing the allowable seller’s concession.  And even though I acknowledge that by having more of the buyer’s money in the deal may make them more likely to fight to stay in the home rather than walk away, I cannot believe that that the potential benefit outweighs the number of people who will be forced to continue to rent because they cannot save up an additional 3%.  Taking buyers who would qualify for financing based on their income and credit and keeping them in apartments doesn’t make sense to me.  The market desperately needs them to buy NOW.

Regardless, we need to adjust to the landscape. Buyers who were even debating buying need to find a home, get into contract and apply for a mortgage today….waiting even for April 30 could be disastrous.  Home sellers need to price their homes to sell TODAY and not “wait for spring”.  At this point, I can see a first-time buyer who waits until May losing the $8000 tax credit, having to need 3% more cash, and paying a 1% higher rate.  My advice?  Don’t look back with regret.  ACT and celebrate your decisiveness.


And here are some more articles on the topic:

  • New guidelines from the FHA.
  • The Wall Street Journal report on the new guidelines.
  • The CNN Money report on what the new guidelines will mean to the housing market.

-The KCM Crew

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4 replies
  1. Dean Hartman
    Dean Hartman says:

    We now know that the UFMIP that the FHA charges will be increased from 1.75% to 2.25% effective April 5th. In order to secure the FHA Case number by then, we are recommending being IN CONTRACT BY APRIL 1st! No dates announced yet on the other changes


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] estate to a buyer who uses FHA Insured financing.  Given the recent increase of the UFMIP, coming reduction of seller’s concessions, and lower credit scores requiring larger down payments, it is refreshing to see the FHA enacting […]

  2. […] Steve Harney had scheduled to post on the impact of walking away from mortgages today, but with the release of the new FHA guidelines we called an audible and brought in our guest blogger, Dean Hartman, for a special report. […]

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