April 3, 2011 |
Could the federal government's booming FHA mortgage program be forcing homeowners to pay tens of millions of dollars of extra interest charges when they sell their houses or refinance their loans? Critics say yes. The government says the critics aren't providing the full picture. Those critics include Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), who is sponsoring legislation that would prohibit Federal Housing Administration lenders from collecting a full month's worth of interest from sellers and refinancers who pay off their mortgages — close escrow — before the final day of the month.
January 9, 2011 |
Homeowners who trade in loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration could be in for a big payday, and not just in the form of a lower interest rate and correspondingly lower payments. If your old FHA loan is less than 3 years old, you will be getting back some of the insurance premium you paid at closing. But only if you take out another government-insured mortgage. If you refinance into any other type of loan ? one guaranteed by a private insurer, for example, or perhaps a conventional mortgage without any coverage at all ?
July 25, 2010 |
Condominium owners who are trying to sell in today's agonizingly slow housing market should make sure that their community is on the Federal Housing Administration's approved list. Ditto for someone who is thinking about refinancing a condo. Under a little-noticed edict put in place in December, the FHA is no longer approving mortgages on condominium units on a spot, loan-by-loan basis. Now the entire project must be cleared by the agency before a buyer can purchase a unit in the community with a government-insured mortgage or an owner can trade in his loan for a less expensive one backed by the FHA. That's important because FHA financing is being used more frequently today than at practically any other time in the agency's 76-year history.
January 31, 2010 |
Call it three birds with one stone: The federal government hopes simultaneously to help low-down-payment home buyers, investors who fix up foreclosures, and local communities burdened with too many bank-owned and foreclosed homes -- all with one potentially far-reaching policy change. The Federal Housing Administration is revising its long-standing "anti-flipping" rule starting Monday and just might score a hit with all three target groups. For years the FHA has had a strict prohibition: It wouldn't insure a mortgage on a house whose seller had owned it less than 90 days.
January 20, 2010 |
The Federal Housing Administration will raise mortgage insurance premiums, update requirements for so-called FICO credit scores and down payments for new home buyers and take other measures designed to shore up the agency's low capital reserves. The FHA, which insures mortgages, also will reduce allowable seller concessions to 3% from 6% and institute a number of measures to increase lender enforcement, the agency is expected to announce today. The proposals were outlined last month by U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.
January 13, 2010 |
Government officials have subpoenaed documents from 15 lenders whose Federal Housing Administration-backed loans have high default rates, including a failed Missouri bank that was owned by an Orange County financial firm. Many of the FHA-backed loans issued by the lenders went bad almost immediately, said Kenneth M. Donohue, inspector general for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which includes the FHA. At a news conference Tuesday, he called the action a review that was not yet an investigation.
December 3, 2009 |
Reporting from Los Angeles and Washington Alejandro Lazo -- Thousands of Southern California home buyers, and millions nationwide, will have to come up with more cash and reach higher minimum credit scores to get a government-backed mortgage under changes unveiled by the Federal Housing Administration. Some loans might require more than the current 3.5% minimum down payment, but the Obama administration is resisting calls for an across-the-board hike. Instead, it is looking at other ways to increase the amount of cash at closing, such as requiring borrowers to pay more of their mortgage insurance premiums up front.
October 8, 2009 |
In the wake of the mortgage meltdown, the Federal Housing Administration has emerged as a pillar of the still wobbly housing market -- providing vital insurance that enables borrowers to qualify for loans with as little as 3.5% down. This year alone the agency has backed nearly 2 million mortgages worth at least $328 billion. It insured 21.5% of all new mortgages last year, up from fewer than 6% in 2007. Some lawmakers, however, worry that the FHA may be doing its job too well -- enabling too many people with shaky finances to get loans, and in effect setting up a potential repeat of the housing bubble fueled in part by no-questions-asked subprime loans.
April 15, 2009 |
Their retirement accounts flattened by the sour economy, older homeowners are increasingly turning to so-called reverse mortgages -- the sometimes expensive loans that don't require payments until the borrower sells the home or dies. The Federal Housing Administration insured 11,261 reverse mortgages in March, a jump of 17% from the same month last year.
April 24, 2008 |
Nine months into the worst housing crisis in a generation, Congress this week took up the most aggressive government plan so far to break spiraling home foreclosures and tumbling house prices that threaten to pull the economy down. But even as a key House committee began to mark up the bill Wednesday, there were signs that the measure could be caught up in a crippling political crossfire.