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It is possible that industry and government efforts may succeed in bringing back FHA approved seller-funded down payment assistance. Negotiations are underway in Washington to pass HR 6694 before the October 1 deadline. It had been thought previously by many that HR 6694 would not be considered until after the first of the year, if at all. HR 6694 would reinstate Seller-Funded down payment assistance programs with additional underwriting guidelines. Seller-funded down payment assistance programs are viewed by many as being critical to maintaining access for may low- and moderate-income families to the American Dream of owning a house. (HR 6694 was the primary focus of efforts coordinated at http://www.dpagroundswell.org/.)
Loans closed with a seller funded down payment use funds from an IRS approved non profit grant to pay the buyer's funds for closing. The seller then reimburses the grant program from their sale proceeds at closing. While such transactions are considered by many detractors to be no more than laundering, the real issue over seller funded down payment assistance programs is the documented higher delinquency rate with these programs.
Supporters of these programs focus on the significant numbers of qualified home buyers who have been helped with seller funded down payment. Supporters believe that delinquency rates can be controlled with tighter approval guidelines.
These down payment programs were banned by the recent housing law, effective October 1 (The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HR 3221), enacted July 30, 2008 as P.A. 110-289). HR 6694 was submitted as soon as the new law was signed.
Negotiations between the House finance committee, chaired by Rep Barney Frank, the Senate, and HUD have focused on HUD's desire to implement credit tiered mortgage insurance premiums, which many oppose, and the desire of many in Congress to keep down payment assistance, which HUD opposes.
When the housing law passed, one of the provisions was to place a moratorium on FHA tiered mortgage insurance. HUD responded by increasing mortgage insurance premiums for everyone.
HR 6694 represents a compromise between these two goals. It allows tiered mortgage insurance premiums, which actually will help mortgage affordability. The higher premiums are not excessive, and will help restore losses. Better credit customers will receive deserved pricing breaks.
Additionally the bill would reinstate down payment assistance, with underwriting guidelines designed to address delinquency issues.
There has been much support from many groups - mortgage industry, real estate industry, consumer groups, Congressional members, and others. This program is seen as necessary to provide home ownership options to many moderate and low income, qualified buyers. Moreover, homebuyers who received the benefit of down payment assistance were able to obtain a safe FHA-insured loan and avoid the risky sub prime loans that were the source of the mortgage meltdown that has resulted in record foreclosures.
Given the current real estate market, this program is an important boost for the housing recovery.
The ground swell movement to support down payment assistance has involved many fronts. Marches have been organized. Thousands of letters have been written. Congressional members have been contacted. According to recent news, these efforts may have produced a positive result.
The reported new credit requirements for down payment assistance are (1) with a FICO of over 680 no restrictions, (2) 620 to 680 allowed subject to higher mortgage insurance, (3) under 620 not allowed. It is possible that new guidelines could be published later in 2009 after the new guidelines have been tested.
Reportedly, passage by the House is assured, and the bill reportedly has the backing of the Secretary of HUD. Attention now focuses on the Senate.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.