Why the MI increase on FHA loans?

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Since my last post, I’ve received a few emails inquiring why FHA continues to increase the mortgage insurance on their loans. Does FHA even want to lend money anymore?!? I’ve blogged about some of the reasons for the changes in a few posts over the past year. Here is a consolidated version of those posts for easy reading.

  • First and foremost, FHA is running out of money. They are at the lowest point ever in their history, and it isn’t getting better. Since FHA fully guarantees the loans they issue, with all of the foreclosures, the “bank” is running out of money. FHA has always been self funded. Given the current state of the federal budget in D.C., now isn’t the time to look for a handout. So they will raise money the only way they know how – by increasing the monthly mortgage insurance premiums.
  • FHA wants to go back to being the niche program they were AND designed to be in the mortgage industry. Prior to the housing burst, FHA made up less than 10% of the originated mortgages. During the past few years, they have climbed to as much as 50% of the loans being originated. FHA never intended their loans to be used in this way. By increasing the monthly mortgage insurance, it makes conventional loans with 3% or 5% down look much more appealing.
  • Eventually, the government wants private lenders to begin working their way into the mortgage industry. If the monthly mortgage insurance is raised to 2.05% (up from its current 1.25%), at some point other companies will come in and say “we’ll do that deal, but only charge 1.50% annually on mortgage insurance…” or something along those lines. Ideally, this would happen to FHA and conventional loans so the government doesn’t have to keep backing Fannie and Freddie either. At this point, we are a long way from this taking place. That said, could this be the start of moving the mortgage industry in that direction?

While there are a few reasons for the increase, the most pressing reason is the lack of money to fund FHA. If they run out of money, then FHA loans go away entirely. While the government would like to see the number of newly originated FHA loans decrease, having FHA eliminated all together isn’t their goal. By increasing the monthly mortgage insurance, it should increase the money coming into FHA’s coffers while probably reducing the number of buyers using FHA loans to purchase their home.

Hopefully this post has shed some light on why FHA has annually increased their monthly mortgage insurance.

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