Update 10/18/2008: This post was written in April 2008 and since then, many FHA guidelines have changed. This post has been updated, however it’s very important to not rely 100% on mortgage information from what you read on the web. Our guidelines are changing too quickly these days! FHA Jumbo loan limits mentioned in this post are effective through 12/31/2008 and will be reduced to 115% of the median home value 1/1/2009 (estimated at $522,000). Click here for an update on FHA guidelines.
Update 2/27/2009: Lenders are applying a minimum credit score of 620 for FHA loans and the 2008 loan limits are returning. Is it possible for me to chop up this post any more?
I thought it might be helpful to provide some information for you to use for when I quote rates on Friday for the FHA Jumbo mortgage. There are other criteria to be considered beyond looking at the rate. You may not have considered FHA before due to loan limits, now it’s more attractive: how else can you buy a home priced at $584,000 with 3% down and credit scores below 720?
FHA Mortgage Insurance
FHA charges both upfront and monthly mortgage insurance regardless of how much money you’re putting down. Seriously, if you’re putting 50% down and using an FHA insured mortgage, you’re paying mortgage insurance. FHA mortgage insurance does not cancel out automatically when your home has an 80% loan to value. You will pay the FHA mortgage insurance for a minimum of 5 years and 78% of the original value (lesser of sales price or appraised value) of the home.
Upfront Mortgage Insurance
Upfront mortgage insurance for a FHA insured mortgage is 1.5% 1.75% of the loan amount for a purchase. With an FHA mortgage, you have a base loan amount and the adjusted loan amount (after you add in the upfront mortgage insurance). For example, if your base loan amount is at the current King, Snohomish and Pierce County level of $567,500, your adjusted loan amount will be $576,012 $577,431 (567,500 plus 1.5% or 8,512 1.75% or 9,931) . Once upon a time, FHA upfront mortgage insurance could be refunded if the mortgage was terminated early with a balance of the mortgage insurance premium remaining, this is no longer the case for new FHA mortgages (which I believe is part of the reason FHA fell from favor during the subprime boom). The adjusted loan amount is what your principal and interest payment is based on. So if the rate going for a FHA Jumbo was 6.500% (this is not a rate quote; this is for example only), the principal and interest payment would be $3,640.79 $3,649.76 (576012 577,431 amortized for 30 years at 6.5%).
Monthly Mortgage Insurance
Yes…as if paying that 1.5% 1.75% upfront MI wasn’t enough…FHA has monthly mortgage insurance as well…the good news is that it is at a low rate compared to traditional private mortgage insurance (especially factoring in a jumbo loan amount, higher loan to value and credit scores below 720). The rate for FHA mortgage insurance is 0.5% 0.55% (for a purchase) of the base loan amount. Using our current example, your monthly mortgage insurance would be $236.46 $260.10 (base loan amount = 567,500 x 0.5% 0.55% divided by 12).
FHA is a fully documented mortgage loan. You will need to provide 2 years of W2s (tax returns if self employed) and your most recent paystubs covering 30 days of income. Any gaps of employment during the past 24 months will need to be explained. There are no income limitations and the DTI is roughly 43%.
Low Down Payment
FHA Jumbos allow for as little as a 3% 3.5% down payment. This means you could be a home priced around $585,000 with the base loan amount of $567,500. Your down payment must be fully sourced and seasoned. Be prepared to hand over your last 2-3 months of bank statements and any asset accounts (all pages) and to explain any large deposits that are not from your source of income. The Seller may contribute up to 6% towards closing costs however the buyer has a minimum investment required of 3% 3.5%. Family members can gift funds towards closing costs as well which counts towards the buyer’s required 3% 3.5%.
Update: Effective January 1, 2009, the minimum down payment will be increased to 3.5%.
Speaking of documentation…
I’ve covered FHA before…and the guidelines for traditional FHA are pretty true for the temporary Jumbo FHA mortgages as well. Here are a few more pointers for our current market:
* FHA does not have price or loan to value limits for geographical areas determined to be soft or declining.
* FHA does not have credit score risked based pricing for credit scores above 620. (Lenders may have their own risk based pricing for credit scores under 620).
Sellers with homes priced around the new FHA jumbo loan limits should consider buyers utilizing FHA financing. A sales price of $584,000 would allow for a minimum down FHA insured mortgage. However a home buyer could always use more towards down payment and opt for a FHA mortgage meaning that if your home is priced higher, you may still want to consider allowing FHA buyers as they may be considering FHA over the price hits conforming has if their score is below 720.
Condo’s are acceptable for FHA financing as well. They may not be on the FHA approved list, however, if the condo meets the requirements for a “spot approval”, they can still qualify for FHA financing.
Act fast…FHA Jumbo is only here until December 31, 2008. loan limits will be slightly reduced on January 1, 2009.