President George W. Bush last week announced that HUD's Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will help an estimated 240,000 families avoid foreclosure by enhancing its refinancing program effective immediately. Under the new FHASecure plan, FHA will allow families with strong credit histories who had been making timely mortgage payments before their loans reset-but are now in default-to qualify for refinancing.
In addition, FHA will implement risk-based premiums that match the borrower's credit profile with the insurance premium they pay-i.e., riskier borrowers pay more. This common-sense, risk-based pricing structure will begin on January 1, 2008.
"Many hard-working American families who were able to make their mortgage payments under the initial teaser terms of the exotic loan are now struggling to make ends meet because their rates have doubled or tripled," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. "FHASecure will bring stability to the housing market and give eligible families who were in good financial standing before their loans reset a chance to keep their homes."
The combination of FHASecure and risk-based premium pricing will permit FHA to return to the role it was originally designed to play, bringing stability to the real estate market by helping break today's cycle of foreclosures and price depreciation and creating much needed liquidity in the now-constricted mortgage market.
FHA has recently experienced a substantial increase in the number of conventional borrowers refinancing into FHA products. With FHASecure, it can help even more. The number of these refinancing transactions has tripled since the start of 2006. FHA's transactions are projected to surpass 100,000 loans by the end of the fiscal year. To date, these figures do not include refinances for delinquent borrowers.
For more information about FHASecure and other FHA products, please call 1-800-CALL-FHA or visit http://www.fha.gov/ or http://www.hud.gov/. For a list of your local homeownership center or a HUD-approved housing counseling center, go to www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm.