In a move that could change the game for new mortgage borrowers, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) on Monday announced a new plan to ease the financial hurdles to home ownership for some low- and moderate-income borrowers.
In a blog post, the FHFA said that the changes would be available to borrowers who have a mortgage that qualifies for a down payment and no other mortgage payments.
Under the plan, new mortgages will be considered “underwritten” if the lender is offering a low-rate mortgage at the same or lower interest rate than a “standard” mortgage.
Those with low-interest mortgages will not be considered underwritten.
The FHHA will also require that borrowers with a mortgage with a fixed-rate of 3.8% or more qualify for an additional $100 in credit counseling, along with $5,000 in monthly mortgage payments and a one-time, tax-free loan deferral of up to $1,000.
Homeowners in areas with median home values of $1 million or more, or in households earning $40,000 to $70,000 a year, would qualify for the new credit counseling.
They would not be required to pay any mortgage interest or taxes.
Homebuyers with no mortgage payments at all would qualify.
The agency said it plans to extend the existing counseling program through June 30.
The new program will cover people who:Have a mortgage in the prime market with a low rate of interest, at least 4% interest;Own their home within three years of their initial payment;Own an existing home that has been in their household for at least five years;Have a downpayment of less than $500 and have a monthly income of less $1 to $10,000;Have no mortgage interest payments on their principal and interest balance, have no mortgage insurance, and have no other payments on a credit card.
It also will help low-income people who qualify for credit counseling who have at least one other source of income.