WASHINGTON – Sept. 8, 2010 – In an effort to help responsible homeowners who owe more on their mortgage than the value of their property, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) now provides a new refinancing option for underwater borrowers. Originally announced in March, the enhancement of a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) refinance program offers non-FHA borrowers the opportunity to qualify for a new FHA-insured mortgage. To qualify, the homeowner must be current on his existing mortgage and lien holders must agree to write off at least 10 percent of the unpaid principal balance.
The FHA Short Refinance option is targeted to people who owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth because the local market saw large declines in home values. The Obama Administration hopes the change, as well as other programs that have been put in place, will help up to 4 million struggling homeowners through the end of 2012.
Participation in FHA’s short refinance program is voluntary and requires the consent of all lien holders. To be eligible for a new loan, the homeowner must also qualify under standard FHA underwriting requirements. The property must be the homeowner’s primary residence and the borrower’s existing first lien holder must agree to write off at least 10 percent of their unpaid principal balance. In addition, the existing loan to be refinanced must not be an FHA-insured loan, and the refinanced FHA-insured first mortgage must have a loan-to-value ratio of no more than 97.75 percent, and a combined loan-to-value ratio no greater than 115 percent.
To facilitate the refinancing of new FHA-insured loans under this program, the U.S. Department of Treasury will provide incentives to existing second lien holders who agree to full or partial extinguishment of the liens. To be eligible, servicers must execute a Servicer Participation Agreement (SPA) with Fannie Mae, in its capacity as financial agent for the United States, on or before October 3, 2010.
For more information on FHA Short Refinance option, read FHA’s mortgagee letter:
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