FHA loans are back!

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blog-author-clayjeffreys3

President Obama issued an executive order that reduced the monthly mortgage insurance premium on FHA loans by more than a third. This order started in January. Since then, FHA loan applications rose dramatically. From February through May of this year, the number of FHA loans essentially doubled from the same time period in 2014.

Why all the love for FHA loans? Because the total monthly payment is more competitive now with conventional loans. Prior to the change, home buyers with excellent credit would see monthly mortgage insurance rates 2.5 times higher for FHA loans than conventional loans. Since the change, FHA monthly mortgage insurance is still more expensive, but nowhere near as bad as it was before the executive order.

In fact, I’ve been able to recommend FHA loans again to my clients. What I mean by that is this… prior to Obama’s executive order, the FHA mortgage insurance was so much higher, it made the total monthly payment for FHA uncompetitive to that of conventional loans. Only clients needing a down payment as low as 3.5% or had credit scores under 660 would really consider using FHA loans.

Now the total monthly payments are more balanced, and you see that by the amount of FHA loan applications now being processed. Here is a brief break down of FHA vs. Conventional loans on a decision making basis using credit scores.

  • those with excellent credit will still likely go with a conventional loan even though the interest rate is better on an FHA because mortgage insurance is not permanent (FHA loans can be), and there is no upfront mortgage insurance payment due at closing (FHA requires this).
  • those with average credit could go either way. It really depends on the exact credit score and the rate difference. Remember, the rate for FHA loans are better than conventional, so even though the monthly mortgage insurance could be higher (and permanent, more on this in a minute), the total payment could be basically the same when you take the interest rate difference into consideration.
  • those with below average credit scores tend to go FHA now. Why? The interest rate is much higher on a conventional loan than FHA loans for lower credit scores. Also, the monthly mortgage insurance payment is higher for conventional loans once credit scores go below 680.

The big drawback to FHA loans is that the mortgage insurance can be permanent. That said, under the “old guidelines”, it would take over 11 years of regular, on time payments before mortgage insurance on FHA loans would fall off. Since most people move on average every 7  years, the mortgage insurance would be on the loan the entire time – so “permanent” isn’t as scary as it sounds.

Don’t know if an FHA loan is right for you? If you are buying in the state of Georgia, contact me. We can talk about your situation and decide what loan is right for you and get you into your new home!

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