Archives for June 2010

The House of Representatives Passes FHA Reform Increasing FHA Mortgage Insurance

Yesterday I was interviewed by Alan Zibel with the Associated Press about the passage of House’s FHA Reform bill which, among other things, would increase the annual FHA mortgage insurance premium.   The Senate still needs to pass their version of the bill but there is no doubt in my mind that we are going to see FHA loans become more expensive for consumers.  Congress is wanting this bill in order to “improve the financial safety and soundness of the FHA mortgage insurance program”. 

HR 5702, or ”FHA Reform Act of 2010″, gives HUD the power to triple the current annual FHA mortgage insurance premium (which is paid monthly).  HUD will offset this cost by reducing the upfront mortgage insurance premium which was increased to 2.25% in April of this year.  HUD will offset the increase in the annual monthly mortgage payment by reducing the annual premium to 1.00%.  HUD feels this is helping home owners increase their home equity by 1.25% since a majority of FHA borrowers finance the upfront mortgage insurance premium.

Currently, the annual mortgage insurance premium for an FHA loan with 3.5% down payment is 0.55% (if you’re putting down 5% or more, the premium is slightly reduced to 0.5%).  HR 5702 will allow HUD to increase the annual premium up to 1.55%.  To calculate how much this would impact your monthly mortgage payment, take the loan amount and multiply the annual premium; then divide by 12 months. 

This is how upfront (UFMIP) and annual mortgage insurance pencils out on an FHA insured mortgage today based on a loan amount of $300,000 and an estimated rate of 5.00% (this morning’s rate is much lower).  Since we’re dealing with future figures, I thought 5 was a nice round number for comparison sake.

  • 2.25% UFMIP x 300,000 = $6,750 = principal & interest payment (UFMIP + loan amount) = $1,646.70
  • 0.55% annual MIP x 300,000 = $1,650 divided by 12 months = $137.50
  • PIMI (principal, interest & mortgage insurance) payment: $1,646.70 + $137.50 = $1,784.20

HR 5702 would allow HUD to almost triple the annual premium while reducing the UFMIP.  Worse case scenario, it could look like this based on the same criteria in my last example:

  • 1.000% UFMIP x 300,000 = $3,000 = principal & interest payment = $1,626.57.
  • 1.55% annual MIP x 300,000 = $4,650/12 months = $387.50
  • PIMI payment = $1,626.57 + $387.50 = $2,014.07

A increase in payment of $229.87 for the same loan even with the reduced upfront mortgage insurance premium!  Based on using an interest rate of 5%, $229.87 per month equals $42,800 in loan amount–meaning that if the borrower only qualified for the PIMI of $1784.20; their loan amount (borrowing power) has been reduced by $42,800.

According to Alan Zibel of the Associated Press, the annual mortgage insurance premium will start off at a lower 0.9%: 

FHA officials want to raise that fee to 0.9 percent, though the bill would give them the power to hike it as high as 1.5 percent.

Even with the annual premium at 0.9%, the monthly mortgage payment (PIMI) would increase to $1,851.57.  (300,000 x 0.9% = 2,700/12 = $225 monthly mortgage insurance plus 1% UFMIP payment of $1,626.57).  This would increase the payment by $67.37 per month based on my example.

Based on HUD Commissioner David Steven’s testimony in March, their goal is to be “more in line with GSE and private mortgage insurers’ pricing”.  

Often times, I’ve recommend FHA loans over conventional mortgages requiring private mortgage insurance because even though FHA has annual and upfront mortgage insurance, the pricing and overall payment has been lower (plus many FHA loans are presently assumable).  

In my opinion, making FHA more like a conventional mortgage will impact many borrowers for the worse and delay the recovery in the housing market further.

Who Does Your Loan Originator Really Work For?

Photo credit Sarah G... via flickr I often wonder how a consumer can truly trust a mortgage originator who sits in a housing development or a real estate office.  Yes, it's convenient when you're checking out that new home and the loan originator that works with the builder or real estate company just happens to be sitting there waiting for you or the next person who'll walk through their door.  Is that the best option for you?

HUD is questioning this with regards to builders with in-house lenders and if this arrangement is a RESPA violation.  It is harmful to consumers if the closing costs or rates are increased to compensate for what the lender may have to shell out to be that builder's preferred lender. Often times, you may find that the builder has built any cost to bribe you to work with their lender by increasing the sales price of the home.  RESPA violations aside, I've always felt that if you work with the builder's lender, you're providing your personal information to the "seller" or the more specifically, the employee of the seller.   The loan originator may be employed by a bank, but when they're constantly fed by the builder…where do their loyalties rest?

I feel the same way about loan originators who work as "joint ventures" with real estate companies.  They may be paying rent inside your real estate agent's office or just be on their preferred providers list with some sort of business arrangement.  I believe most of the big real estate brokerages in the Seattle area have an arrangement made to steer you to their lender, title or escrow company.   When a loan originator, title rep or escrow officer are constantly fed or partially owned by a real estate company–where are their loyalties?  If you only want to get approved for a $400,000 sales price, and can afford to much higher–do you think the LO who's shacked up with the real estate agent will let that agent know when they press the LO for more info on you?

Yes, you pay for their origination, title or escrow fees, but who are these people really work for.  Shouldn't you have more of a choice?   Some real estate agents will tell you that there isn't much difference in rate or fees–which they may truly believe; however, it may not be accurate

I "work for" Mortgage Master Service Corporation.  I'm paid by the consumer when we close a mortgage transaction together.  My business is dependent on my clients referring me to people they know who need a mortgage in the greater Seattle area.  I also have clients who find me from reading my blogs.   I am not part of any joint venture or arranged business agreements.  I'm not paid based on volume, quotas or selling a certain type of program.

Bottom line as a borrower in one of the largest transactions you may ever make in your lifetime, it is your responsibility to make sure you have the right team working for you.  Do as much research as possible before you've entered into a real estate contract.

Photo credit:  Sarah G… via Flickr