The House of Representatives Thursday afternoon overwhelmingly passed a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) reform bill allowing the agency to triple annual premium payments to 150 basis points, a move designed to bolster the insurer's wobbly finances.
The measure also mandates that seller/servicers repay the government for any losses on mortgages funded using delegated underwriting. If fraud is discovered on an FHA loan, the agency could hold the lender liable in full.
Among other things, the legislation gives a break to FHA homebuyers who purchase properties with a downpayment of 10% or greater.
"For any mortgage involving an original principal obligation that is less than 90% of the appraised value of the property, this premium may be required to be paid for the first 11 years of the mortgage." If the downpayment is less than 10%, the premium will be assessed over 30 years. (The values are subject to appraisal confirmation.)
The final tally on the vote for the FHA Reform Act (H.R. 5072) was 406-4. In a statement, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary Shaun Donovan said the bill would enable the FHA to "reform its current mortgage insurance premium structure by shifting some of the upfront cost to the annual premium—a move that will increase FHA's capital reserves and reduce risks" to the government insurance fund. With the House bill passed, the Senate must come up with its version of the measure.