Real Estate Term of the Day: Federal Housing Administration

Real Estate Term of the Day: Federal Housing Administration

FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION (aka: FHA) – an agency, within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, that administers many loan programs, loan guarantee programs, and loan insurance programs designed to make housing available (Barron’s Dictionary of Real Estate Terms)

According to the Hud.gov, Congress created the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in 1934. The FHA became a part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Housing in 1965.  When the FHA was created, the housing industry was flat on its back because of several factors including:

  • Two million construction workers had lost their jobs.
  • Terms were difficult to meet for homebuyers seeking mortgages.
  • Mortgage loan terms were limited to 50 percent of the property’s market value, with a repayment schedule spread over three to five years and ending with a balloon payment.
  • America was primarily a nation of renters. Only four in 10 households owned homes.

During the 1940s, FHA programs helped finance military housing and homes for returning veterans and their families after the war. In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the FHA helped to spark the production of millions of units of privately-owned apartments for elderly, handicapped and lower income Americans. When soaring inflation and energy costs threatened the survival of thousands of private apartment buildings in the 1970s, FHA’s emergency financing kept cash-strapped properties afloat. The FHA moved in to steady falling home prices and made it possible for potential homebuyers to get the financing they needed when recession prompted private mortgage insurers to pull out of oil producing states in the 1980s.  By 2001, the nation’s homeownership rate had soared to an all time high of 68.1 percent as of the third quarter that year.  The FHA and HUD have insured over 34 million home mortgages and 47,205 multifamily project mortgages since 1934. FHA currently has 4.8 million insured single family mortgages and 13,000 insured multifamily projects in its portfolio.

Benefits of using an FHA insured mortgage to finance your home purchase:

  • Affordable DOWN PAYMENT minium = 3.5% of purchase price
  • All FHA loans are ASSUMABLE
  • Typically a lower interest rate is offered

Disadvantages of using an FHA insured mortgage to finance your home purchase:

  • Higher upfront mortgage premium & monthly mortgage insurance premium
  • Some condo/town home developments are not approved for this type of loan
  • Maximum loan amount (depending on the area – see Denver MSA loan amounts)

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