The Real Estate Encyclopedia
Details of FHA's $8K downpayment advance released
Category - Real Estate Information Sources - Real Estate Information General
WASHINGTON – May 29, 2009 – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released more details today about its program to help first-time homebuyers use a tax credit as part of a downpayment.

HUD announced the program on May 12 at the National Association of Realtors® Housing Summit. In the interim, HUD posted an announcement and then immediately took it down, leading to speculation that the program would be pulled. In response, HUD said the rules had simply not been finalized, and the original announcement had been posted in error. 

“We’ve been eager for word from the federal government since the new FHA downpayment assistance plan was announced, and even more so after the program details were first published and then quickly pulled,” says John Sebree, FAR vice president of public policy. “Luckily, that turns out to be a minor setback and there will be a federal downpayment program to complement the $30 million we were successful in securing in the Florida budget.”

The most significant change involves the amount of downpayment required by qualified first-time homebuyers. FHA mortgages require a 3.5 percent downpayment, and the $8,000 tax credit cannot be used to override that requirement. Once the 3.5 percent downpayment requirement has been met, however, the tax credit can be applied to additional costs, including a higher downpayment, paying points to lower the mortgage rate, and/or closing costs. Lenders will treat the tax credit money as a second lien on the home until it’s paid back.

“Mortgage industry leaders have indicated that this type of product may not be immediately available to consumers,” says Sebree. Since lenders will oversee the tax credit loan, they must create internal programs to handle the process.

Lenders have some flexibility on payback requirements for the upfront loan of the tax credit, though HUD also created rules to protect homebuyers from onerous terms. To read the complete overview in Mortgagee Letter 2009-15, go here.


Real Estate Information Sources - Real Estate Information General
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