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10:49 PM CDT on Thursday, June 19, 2008 By STEVE BROWN / The Dallas Morning News firstname.lastname@example.org Texas continues to lead the country in the volume of home loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration. And Fort Worth and Dallas still have some of the highest volumes in the country, FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery said Thursday while visiting Dallas. "Dallas is the No. 3 county for FHA volume in the entire country," he said. "Tarrant County is the No. 1 county for the whole country for FHA." With the shakeout in the mortgage industry, federally backed FHA loans have dramatically increased in volume. These mortgages provide consumers with long-term, fixed-rate financing insured by the government. FHA market share has jumped from about 3 percent in 2005 to about 12 percent. "Our volume in Texas for the first quarter of calendar year 2008 was up almost 90 percent from the previous one," Mr. Montgomery said. "This is the state with the largest FHA volume, which we thought was a pretty amazing statistic." He was in Dallas to tour Bank of America's regional government lending center. Since 2005, Bank of America has increased its FHA and Department of Veterans Affairs loan business from around $800 million annually to an anticipated $5 billion this year. Fundings from the Dallas office - which employs about 150 - were up 35 percent in May compared with the same month last year, according to Bank of America. Bank of America is the fourth-largest producer of FHA-backed loans in the country, according to bank officials. "I certainly see that the FHA market is going to be strong for 18 to 24 months," said Allen Jones, who heads the bank's government lending program. "We will look to continue to grow our FHA capacity." Bank of America early this year converted a wholesale loan operation it had in downtown Dallas into the FHA-VA loan-processing center. Dallas was chosen because the bank identified Texas as a key market for FHA-VA lending, Mr. Jones said He said the FHA will continue to be a major player in the U.S. loan market until credit conditions stabilize. "At a point in time those who are sitting on the sidelines today will gain comfort and come back into the market," Mr. Jones said. The overall U.S. housing market still has a long recovery period ahead, Mr. Montgomery said. "I don't see it getting dramatically worse, but I still think it's 2009 or maybe 2010 before you see it mostly stable," he said. "In Texas and parts of the South, you are seeing things start to get a little better." As much as 45 percent of the loans the FHA insures are people refinancing from mortgages - including subprime loans with rising interest rates, causing the payments to increase. "FHA has been there for them and softening the crash," Mr. Montgomery said. "Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to save everyone. "A lot of these loans should have never been made in the first place." The FHA currently insures almost 5 million U.S. home loans. Since September 2007, the FHA has provided more than $76.1 billion in mortgages. The number of FHA-based refinancing loans is up threefold from the same time last year, he said. "We've had 230,000 new FHA refi customers since last October," Mr. Montgomery said. "The vast majority of those were subprime."
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.