Monday, January 25, 2010

FHA Announces Stricter Standards

It’s going to be harder to get a government-backed mortgage from now on. Looking to shore up its weakening finances, the Federal Housing Administration has announced stricter standards. The agency, which insured nearly a third of new mortgages in 2009, will increase the premium it charges for its mortgage insurance and require those with weaker credit scores to come up with larger downpayments.

The FHA will also reduce the amount of money a seller can provide a homebuyer for closing costs, as well as tighten its enforcement of lenders. "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," FHA Commissioner David Stevens said in a statement. Source: CNN/Money. Editors Note: These changes go into effect shortly and anyone who is thinking about purchasing a home can benefit by using the old rules if they act quickly.

Real estate investors are moving back into the market, according to a recent survey from According to the survey, 12.1 percent of home buyers today plan to buy a home as an investment property, compared to 5.6 percent in March 2009. The survey found that 15.8 percent of those interested in investment property were men and 8.1 percent were women and 52.6 percent of the investment buyers were between ages 35 to 49. Of the 25.3 percent of buyers who are focusing on foreclosure properties, 42 percent regard the purchase they are considering an investment and don’t plan to live in the property themselves; 13.2 percent plan to rent out the property; 11.3 percent are going to fix up the property and resell it; and 17.4 percent plan to house a family member until the property can be sold profitably. Of the 9.8 percent of buyers who say that they plan to purchase and live in a property in the next two y ears, 5.4 percent plan to purchase in the next 12 months; 48.3 percent are first-time buyers; 52.8 percent are women, and 44.1 percent are men. Source:

Home prices are expected to grow modestly this year and sales will keep rising as the housing market continues to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression, the National Association of Realtors said in their latest report. Home resales are projected to total 5.7 million this year, up from an estimated 5 million last year. Prices will climb about 4 percent after a projected decline of 13 percent last year, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the trade association. "Going into 2010, I anticipate that prices will also begin stabilizing or begin to modestly improve," Yun indicated at the association’s annual conference. "That should help ease buyers’ anxiety." Yun said. The housing market’s rebound has been aided by an aggressive federal intervention to lower mortgage rates and bring more buyers into the market. Home resales rose in the previous quarter to t he highest level in more than two years, something Yun said shows buyers are eager to get back into the market. A federal tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers has helped stoke sales last year. The buyers can claim the credit if they sign a contract by April 30 and close the deal by the end of June. Lawmakers also expanded the program to include a $6,500 credit for existing homeowners who have lived in their current residence for at least five years. Source: National Association of Realtors

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