FHA Loan Bill May Increase Loan Limits

The FHA Modernization Bill passed by the United States Senate on December 13 will bring changes that have been fought for long and hard. FHA loans are currently limited to $359,900 in Southern California (loan amounts are regionally based), and 3% down on top of a $359,900 loan amount does not meet most of the housing market in this region. Per California Association of Realtors, "the U.S. Senate on Dec. 14 approved legislation designed to modernize the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage insurance program by increasing loan limits, and helping troubled borrowers with subprime loans refinance into federally insured mortgages." "The bill, which has the support of the Bush administration, also would reduce the required minimum down payment for an FHA-insured loan from 3 percent to a flat 1.5 percent of the appraised value of a home. "

If passed, new FHA loan features will also streamline condo purchases, and increase loan limits to $417,000 (the current conforming loan limits for non-FHA loans). Expect these changes to be taking effect in January after the final issues are worked out between the Senate and the House.

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