In high-cost areas, the FHA national loan limit “ceiling” will increase to $636,150 from $625,500. FHA will also increase its “floor” to $275,665 from $271,050. Additionally, the maximum claim amount for FHA-insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs), or reverse mortgages, will increase to $636,150. This amount is 150 percent of the national conforming limit of $424,100.
By: Michael A. Foote
A frequent occurrence today in the life of a loan originator involves telling your optimistic potential borrowers that they don’t have enough equity to refinance and lower their payments. A fact that rubs salt in the wound is that the clients have undoubtedly made all their mortgage payments of time for many years.
To aid in helping underwater or low equity borrowers refinance into a new lower fixed rate interest rates, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have developed and launched a very successful refinance program. Fannie Mae’s program has seen wider adoption as LP Open Access was not pushed to many third party providers. Most likely the lack of interest was due to the banks potential losses from the program.
In any event LP Open Access is now more widely available from brokers and banks alike.
The program offers up to 105% LTV and unlimited CLTV which basically means if your home was worth $100,000 and you owed $105,000 on your first mortgage and $100,000 you would potentially be able to refinance that $105,000 first mortgage and leave the 2nd mortgage where it is at.
Although the second lien holder needs to subordinate, that lender has an incentive to approve the subordination since the borrower is most likely saving money on the first leaving an even less likely chance the borrower would default on the second mortgage.
So, if a borrower is at 6% fixed he could easily get a new mortgage rate in the 4% range with NO Mortgage Insurance. A full appraisal is required for this product and the existing loan cannot currently contain MI and the loan also must have been originated/funded prior to May 31, 2009. Minimum required FICO scores are also near or as low as 620. This program follows the temporary and permanent high cost loan limits. 1-Unit to $729,750 for another couple weeks then it will drop to $625,500 in high cost areas. 1-4 Units are eligible up to $1,403,400 and will drop to $801, 950 as noted earlier.
The program is clearly worthwhile and to find out if you are qualified you only need your mortgage professional to look-up your property address. This requires the last four numbers of the borrower as well.
If you are preliminarily qualified for the LP Open Access Relief Refinance Program, the process is very similar to getting a regular mortgage, in fact, it is almost identical.
Rates and programs are 30 and 15 year fixed are the only options available and rates are in the range of regular 30 year fixed agency paper. In some cases even lower.
So if you’ve been turned down recently for a refinance make sure you’ve looked at all options. Don’t fret. Call your local mortgage broker professional and ask about the LP Open Access Relief Refinance Program and its sister product, Fannie Mae DU Refinance Plus.
Michael Foote is a twenty plus year real estate and mortgage professional with multiple state licensing and over $1 billion dollars in personal production.
FHA is changing it’s terms, yet again. FHA will increase it’s MMI or monthly mortgage insurance premium to as high as .90% from the current .55% and it’s UFMIP or upfront mortgage insurance premium to 1% from the current 2.25% for purchase transactions. The result, plenty of technology updates and confused Loan Officers. The question is how will the streamline refinances be affected by this?
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner David Stevens has announced a new set of policy changes designed to strengthen the FHA’s capital reserves.
The FHA will increase the mortgage insurance premium (MIP) from its current level of 1.75% to 2.25%; update the combination of FICO scores and down payments for new borrowers; reduce seller concessions from 6% to 3%; and implement a series of measures aimed at increasing lender enforcement
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan previewed the changes in December 2009, noting the FHA would announce additional details before the end of January.
“Striking the right balance between managing the FHA’s risk, continuing to provide access to underserved communities, and supporting the nation’s economic recovery is critically important,” Stevens says. “When combined with the risk management measures announced in September of last year, these changes are among the most significant steps to address risk in the agency’s history.”
In addition to raising the up-front MIP by 50 basis points, the FHA will request legislative authority to increase the maximum annual MIP that it can charge.
If this authority is granted, the FHA will then shift some of the premium increase from the up-front MIP to the annual MIP. This shift will allow for the capital reserves to increase with less impact to the consumer, because the annual MIP is paid over the life of the loan instead of at the time of closing, the agency explained in a statement Tuesday.
The initial up-front increase will be included in a mortgagee letter to be released tomorrow, Jan. 21, and will go into effect in the spring.
Additionally, new FHA borrowers will now be required to have a minimum FICO score of 580 to qualify for FHA’s 3.5% down payment program. New borrowers with less than a 580 FICO score will be required to put down at least 10%.
The agency says this change will be posted in the Federal Register in February and, after a notice and comment period, would go into effect in the early summer.
The FHA additionally says its current seller-concession limit of 6% exposes the agency to excess risk by creating incentives to inflate appraised value. Reducing the seller-financing cap to 3% will bring the FHA into conformity with industry standards on seller concessions. This change will also be posted in the Federal Register in February, and after a notice and comment period, would go into effect in the early summer.
To support its lender enforcement initiatives, the FHA will begin publicly reporting lender performance rankings to complement currently available Neighborhood Watch data. The rankings will be available on the HUD Web site starting Feb. 1.
This is an operational change, FHA says, to make information more user-friendly and hold lenders more accountable; it does not require new regulatory action, as Neighborhood Watch data is currently publicly available.
The agency will additionally enhance monitoring of lender performance and compliance with FHA guidelines and standards by implementing the Credit Watch termination through lender underwriting ID in addition to originating ID. This change, effective immediately, will also be included in a mortgagee letter tomorrow.
Starting in early summer, the FHA will implement statutory authority through regulation of section 256 of the National Housing Act to enforce indemnification provisions for lenders using delegated insuring process. Specifications of this change will be posted in March and subject to a notice and comment period before going into effect.
Moreover, HUD is pursuing legislative authority to increase enforcement on FHA lenders. Specific authority includes amendment of section 256 of the National Housing Act to apply indemnification provisions to all direct-endorsement lenders and legislative authority permitting HUD maximum flexibility to establish separate “areas” for purposes of review and termination under the Credit Watch initiative. This latter authority would permit HUD to withdraw originating and underwriting approval for a lender nationwide on the basis of the performance of its regional branches
SOURCE: Federal Housing Administration
In today’s environment of help the customer and regulate the lender even more, HUD has decided to remove the 1% cap on FHA mortgages. Although state and federal guidelines will prevent usurious charges by any broker or lender, the rule change is designed to help FHA lenders to stay in compliance with the new RESPA rules starting this year. There is a chance that this will increase the cost of borrowing to borrowers in lower value states. If HUD puts a percentage limit on costs then we should see no discernible increase in overall borrower costs and this may even allow some lenders to lower their minimum loan amount thus making credit available for more lower income borrowers. We’ll see. One thing is for sure, lenders, technology vendors and the like will no doubt experience pain putting these new rules in place. The sad reality is if they just enforced the existing rules, these changes would not be necessary. Get ready for even more regulation and licensing hurdles in 2010.
Happy New Year All!