The First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Advance May NOT Be Used Towards the 3.5% Down Payment…UNLESS…

Update 6/10/2009 11:20 am:  Please read the comments 1-21 (especially Aubrey Cohen’s comments).   Apparently according to a HUD representative, the tax credit can be used for down payment if it’s received through State Housing Finance Agencies.   (I called the FHA help line twice this morning and both FHA representatives say this is not the case).  The representative from HUD apologizes for the confusion and will make sure the Homeownership Centers understand… I apologize for the confusion too!

I feel like shouting “THE TAX CREDIT ADVANCE IS NOT DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE!” up and down the streets of Seattle.  Home buyers utilizing FHA loans still need to come up with a minimum of 3.5% for their downpayment (see the update above).   Per HUD’s Mortgagee Letter 2009-15 dated May 29, 2009:

“The proceeds of the sale of the tax credit to FHA approved mortgagees, the seller, or any other person or entity tha tis reimbursed, directly or indirectly…may not be used to meet the 3.5% minimum down payment, but may be used as additional downpayment, buying down the interest rate, or other closing costs.”

Jane and John are buying a home using FHA for financing with a sales price of $300,000.   FHA requires they invest a minimum of 3.5% of the sales price into the transaction.   Jane and John need to have $10,500 of their own funds (which can be gifted or loaned from a family member) invested into this transaction.   Assuming they qualify for the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit and the IRS figures out how to resolve the issues of how to pay the FTHB Tax Credit Advances, they could use the $8000 towards closing costs, prepaids and any extra funds (after paying closing costs and prepaids AND after they invest $10,500) could go towards downpayment.  (Unless…see the update above).

This is not a zero down program and this is not like the ol’ DPAs (Nehemiah, etc.).   This is (if the details are ever worked out in time) an advance or loan against your tax credit.

Haaa… I feel a little better now.  🙂  One of the benefits of blogging… venting!

The Housing Rescue Bill

Today President Bush signed a housing “rescue” bill HR 3221.  I’m really still absorbing all of this (I think it’s taking me a bit longer after my trip to Inman Connect).   Here are a few quick pointers:

The FHA risked base mortgage insurance pricing (which I’m in favor of) that was to be effective last week is now postponed until September 30, 2009.   FHA can now save some borrowers in trouble with their mortgage if their existing lender will forgive the underlying debt to 85% 90% of the current value of the home.   Gee…risked based MIP might be handy in these cases.

Also with FHA, Seller paid down payment assistance programs are will be gone and the minimum down payment for an FHA insured loan will be 3.5% (which is a very small increase) beginning October 1, 2008.

Jumbo FHA and Jumbo Conforming loan limits will be reduced from the current 125% of median home value to 115% of the median home value beginning January 1, 2009.   As I mentioned, your days of a loan amount of $567,500 are numbered.   The new conforming/FHA jumbo limit may be closer to $520,000.  

First time homebuyers (someone who has not had interested in a property for the past 3 years) are eligible to receive a tax credit…however, it’s really an interest free loan to be paid back over 15 years or from the proceeds when the home is sold (which ever comes first).  This is available only for homes purchased on or after April 9, 2008 and before July 1, 2009.  Income restrictions do apply.   For more information, check out this website.   

Last but not least (and I’m sure I’m missing stuff) Fannie and Freddie have a new regulator: The Federal Finance Housing Agency aka FHFA.   This from James B. Lockhart:

“Today President Bush signed the ‘Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.’ I thank President Bush and Secretary Paulson for their leadership in making government sponsored enterprise (GSE) regulatory reform a reality.

The Act creates a world-class, empowered regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), with all the authorities necessary to oversee vital components of our country’s secondary mortgage markets — Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks — at a very challenging time.  As Director of the new agency I look forward to working with the combined Federal Housing Finance Board (FHFB), Office of Federal Housing Enterprise (OFHEO) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) GSE Mission teams and with other regulators to ensure the safety and soundness of the 14 housing related GSEs and the stability of the nation’s housing finance system.

For more than two years as Director of OFHEO I have worked to help create FHFA so that this new GSE regulator has far greater authorities than its predecessors.  As Director of FHFA, I commit that we will use these authorities to ensure that the housing GSEs provide stability and liquidity to the mortgage market, support affordable housing and operate safely and soundly.”

Too much to write about in detail for one post…just wanted to throw you some bits.