Proposal to Raise FHA Loan Down Payment
Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee have drafted a bill to raise the minimum down payment for Federal Housing Administration-backed loans to 5 percent as well as cut FHA loan limits in many markets. FHA-backed loans are a main source of mortgages for first-time home buyers.

Currently, home owners who take out FHA-backed loans are required to have a minimum down payment of 3.5 percent; the GOP bill seeks to raise that to 5 percent. The GOP says it wants to protect home owners against default and improve FHA’s finances.

The bill has not yet been introduced but remains in draft form. However, the draft legislation is expected to be discussed on Wednesday by the subcommittee.

The draft legislation also calls for lowering FHA loan limits in several areas.

As of now, the maximum size of FHA-backed loans in expensive areas of the country is set to drop to $625,500 from $729,750 as of Oct. 1. In less expensive areas, the limit may drop to $271,050. The GOP draft bill wants to drop the limits even more to 125 percent of a county’s median home price, Dow Jones reports.

“While we support reforms to strengthen the program, changes should not be made at consumers’ expense by drastically impacting the affordability and availability of mortgage capital,” Ron Phipps, the National Association of REALTORS®’ president, said in a statement.

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