With the appreciation homes are seeing in the greater Seattle – King County area, home owners who purchased their home a couple years ago using an FHA mortgage may now be able to refinance into a conventional mortgage. FHA mortgages are often used when a home buyer needs a lower down payment option or if credit scores are lower. FHA jumbo mortgages offer home buyers lower down payment with higher loan amounts than what conforming mortgages will permit. There are many reasons why someone might opt for an FHA mortgage when buying a home.
A few weeks ago, HUD announced a new program created for first time home buyers which rewards them with reduced mortgage insurance premiums after they participate in home buyer education and one-on-one housing counseling. HAWK or Homeowners Armed with Knowledge is a pilot program set be released in two phases on a limited basis.
An FHA 203k rehab mortgage is great for fixing up a home that you’re considering buying and may even be used to make improvements to your primary residence with an FHA 203k refi. Many lenders offer the “FHA streamlined 203k rehab” loan which limits the amount of funds that can be used for the rehab project. Unlike a streamline 203k, the rehab process is allowed to take up to six months to complete. I’m very pleased that Mortgage Master Service Company is now offering the FULL FHA 203k program.
Let me start by saying there’s nothing wrong with having an FHA insured mortgage. FHA mortgages have been a resource for first time home buyers and borrowers who lack significant down payment since their inception 40 years ago…. BUT with the increases to the upfront and monthly mortgage insurance premiums and the reduced loan limits, many borrowers could be better off considering loans other than FHA.
When I’m working with a home buyer who’s considering an FHA mortgage, here are some of the other mortgage programs I suggest they consider:
Last week, HUD announced the FHA loan limits for 2014 with most counties in Washington having loan limits reduced from 2013 levels. In the Seattle/King County area, FHA loan amounts for a single unit dwelling will be reduced by $61,500 from $567,500 to $506,000 in 2014. Kitsap County was hit the hardest with a reduction of $167,950 for single unit dwellings. The higher loan limits that we have appreciated over the past few years were intended to be “temporary” and HUD has been attempting to shrink FHA’s footprint, so we shouldn’t be too surprised over the lower loan limits.
FHA loan limits for 2014 have been reduced from 2013. For a home located in greater Seattle, the new FHA loan limit is reduced from $567,500 to $506,000 in 2014. The reductions are across the board for Washington state counties and some loan limits are below 2014 conforming loan limits.
FHA streamline refinances without appraisals and with loan amounts over the the 2014 loan limits will not be subject to the new loan limits.