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FHA Loans, the New Subprime?

While the FHA loan program for home finance was developed after the Great Depression to increase home ownership possibilities for the average American, today it is argued to be an even bigger player in the mortgage market.

In the late 1930s, buying a home required 40-50% down and payoff in three to four years. With employment at an all-time low and a housing market full of foreclosed homes, the American banking system underwent reform and FHA was hatched. Effectively, the FHA program allowed lending with lower down payment and backing by the federal government for banks to remove substantial risk from their portfolios. During the next few decades, homeownership increased substantially, to up to 40% of Americans.

Fast forward to a similar climate today, with unemployment or underemployment as well as foreclosure numbers at a high resurgence, many borrowers are turning to FHA as an answer. With substantially lower down payments, lower credit scores and higher debt to income ratios allowable than with a conventional mortgage, many people previously unable to borrow can now qualify. And as FHA seems quicker to relax their lending guidelines than conventional mortgage programs, even more people unable to qualify previously are now purchasing a home.

Let’s not fail to mention the streamline refinance FHA is currently offering either. If a borrower simply wants to take advantage of a lower interest rate or shorter term, and their loan was purchased by FHA prior to June 1, 2009, the borrower may see substantial savings. These loans do not require an appraisal, and often most or all of the closing costs associated with the refinance can be covered with the new loan amount, requiring little to no out of pocket cost for the borrower.

While many traditionalists are calling FHA the new subprime, fearing the quality of borrowers may cause another “boom” in foreclosures when we face another burst in the housing “bubble”, others argue that having more mortgages backed by the US government make controlling the quality of the market more viable and a further depressed housing market less likely. No matter where the experts fall, everybody agrees the revenue stream generated by the mortgage insurance premiums required for an FHA loan are an excellent revenue source for the government to utilize for boosting the still depressed economic climate today.

With FHA rates today, without compensating factors, at 3.25% and lower make this program an attractive option. If you are considering an FHA purchase or refinance, please contact me at pwoods@mychartermtg.com today with any questions you might have. I would be happy to help you decide if this is the best choice for you.

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Find fha mortgage rates with 0 points, 0 Lender fees. No one has lower FHA mortgage loan fees at same rate/same loan program.  Call an FHA lender today for a personalized FHA loan quote.