The following is provided by Bert Karrer with Countrywide Home Loans
PRESIDENT'S ECONOMIC GROWTH PACKAGE TO MAKE NEARLY A QUARTER OF A MILLION FAMILIES ELIGIBLE FOR FHA-INSURED MORTGAGES
FHA implements temporary higher loan limits to help families keep their homes
Nearly a quarter of a million more families could be eligible this year to purchase or refinance their homes using affordable, FHA-insured mortgages, thanks to the economic growth package signed into law by President Bush last month. The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 will allow HUD's Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to temporarily increase its loan limits and insure larger mortgages at a more affordable price in high cost areas of the country.
"The stimulus is providing immediate relief to homeowners," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, who will be discussing the new loan limits later today at a Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors keynote speech. "It raises the Federal Housing Administration's loan limits, enabling more families to qualify for a safe, affordable FHA mortgage. This is important. Families in high-cost states have been priced out of FHA-backed loans. This has created a vacuum, filled by exotic subprime loans. Families with home loans up to $729,750 will now qualify for an FHA loan, depending on where they live."
Beginning today, HUD will offer temporary FHA loan limits that will range from $271,050 to $729,750. Overall, the change in loan limits will help provide economic stability to America's communities and give nearly 240,000 additional homeowners and homebuyers a safer, more affordable mortgage alternative. The maximum amount of $729,750 will only be applicable to extremely high-cost metropolitan areas such as: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Greenville County FHA loan limit increased from $200,186 to $295,000.
"Many families all over the U.S. will benefit from this access to credit, and increasing these loan limits will inject much-needed liquidity into the housing market," said FHA Commissioner/Assistant Secretary for Housing Brian Montgomery. "Even moderate-cost states like those in the South and Southwest such as Dallas, Houston, Augusta and Tallahassee will be helped, with most loan limits there rising to $271,050."
There are 75 areas in the U.S., out of a total of approximately 3200, that will be eligible for the highest loan limit of $729,750. Previously, FHA's loan limits in these very high-cost areas were capped at $362,790.
The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 permits FHA to insure loans on amounts up to 125 percent of the area median house price, when that amount is between the national minimum ($271,050) and maximum ($729,750). The new minimum and maximum loan limits are based on 65 percent and 175 percent of the conforming loan limits for Government-Sponsored Enterprises in 2008, which is $417,000. The FHA used a combination of existing government data sets and available commercial information to determine the median sales price for each area, and released the data approximately two weeks after the President signed the stimulus bill. The change in loan limits are applicable to all FHA-insured mortgage loans endorsed after HUD publishes the increased loan limits today, and it lasts until December 31, 2008.
By increasing loan limits nationwide, FHA will provide much needed liquidity and stability to housing markets across the country. Already, as conventional sources of mortgage credit have been contracting, FHA has been filling the void. From September to December 2007, FHA facilitated more than $38 billion of much-needed mortgage activity in the housing market, more than $15 billion of which was through FHASecure, FHA's refinancing product. By focusing on 30-year fixed rate mortgages, FHA helps homeowners avoid and escape the risks associated exotic subprime mortgage products, which have resulted in rising default and foreclosure rates.
In January 2009, FHA's maximum loan limit will return to $362,790, unless the U.S. Congress approves bipartisan legislation to permanently increase loan limits as part of the FHA Modernization bill, which is still awaiting final approval on Capitol Hill.
"In January 2009 the loan limits will return to their previous setting
," Jackson will say later today. "We need a more permanent solution. So our next step must be to modernize the 74-year-old FHA. Two years ago, before the downturn, we introduced an FHA modernization bill to Congress. Our plan offers flexible downpayment requirements and higher loan limits. It would also enable the FHA to fairly price premiums, taking risk into account so the market makes rational decisions. We don't want anyone caught by surprise again. FHA modernization could help a quarter of a million families this year alone. It passed the House and Senate in overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion. But a final bill has yet to reach the President. Congress must act-now!"
This loan limit increase will help the real estate industry by bringing a bigger pool of qualified buyer into a market that really needs more buyers.
Countrywide Home Loans
124 Verdae Blvd. Suite 206
Greenville, SC 29607
Office: (864) 329-3165
Mobile: (864) 915-9599
Fax: (864) 234-4939