FHA is test-ballooning changes to their mortgage insurance program (MIP). This typically means that they’ve decided what they want to do and they are taking comments from the public and the industry. HUD, through FHA, wants to reduce its share of federally insured loans and have publicly stated this. Here are the changes on tap:
1. Increased annual mortgage insurance premium. Currently at 1.25%, the proposed change would move to 1.35%. For a purchaser at $200,000 with the typical 3.5% down payment, this would equal $16 increase per month.
2. One of the most controversial changes is requiring this annual MIP to remain on the loan for life, instead of the current 78% LTV (or at least 5 years of payments) removal.
3. HUD wants to change the fraud-related risk component of the National Housing Act. This is a wise choice – if a lender “knew or should have known” fraudulent or errant conduct occurred, they should be held responsible. Lenders can also be terminated from origination and underwriting authority, where those lenders had excessive rate of defaults or claims.
4. Currently sellers (or any interested party, including Realtors) can fund up to 6% of the buyer’s closing costs, prepaid items and/or points. The change would lower that to 3%, though there has been discussion of a minimum level in order to not penalize low sales price transactions.
As movement occurs or a Mortgagee Letter is released by HUD on these changes, we will update you. The clear message is that HUD would much prefer your buyers use Agency Fannie or Freddie loans.
A snapshot of interest rates:
30 year fixed 3.5%
15 year fixed 2.875%
FHA/VA 30 year fixed 3.25%
All above assume good credit and down payments of 20% on conventional, 3.5% on FHA and 0% on VA at zero points.