With nobody looking over its shoulder, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been "very vigilant" in not resetting area median home prices to their current levels, a National Association of Realtors' (NAR) lobbyist said at the group's convention in San Diego.Noting that the agency is using 2006-level prices to set loan limits for individual markets, Megan Booth, an NAR senior policy representative, told a convention session that the "dramatic drop in house prices" over the last three years would result in lower loan limits in numerous places. With the conforming loan limit remaining at $417,000 for another year — and $729,750 in high-cost areas — the ceilings on loans that can be insured by the FHA also will not change in 2010 unless the agency recalculates the median prices for the nation's 3,300-plus counties.But Booth indicated the government fears any decline in the limits would rock local housing markets. NAR, meanwhile, will use the next 12 months to push to make the 2010 limits permanent. "No. 1 on our agenda is liquidity," said the group's new president, Vicki Cox Golder, a Tucson land broker. "Without funding, we can't get people into homes."
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