Is Permanent FHA Reform on the Horizon?

I’m in shock. Or is it awe. Either way, my jaw hurts from hitting the floor.
We’ve all heard about the temporary changes that have been made to FHA loan limits and the economic stimulus plan. But with these temporary changes – like Cinderella’s stagecoach at midnight – the benefits will disappear on December 31st, 2007.
But could it be? Could the government have longer term plans in the works?
Today on CNN.com I read that the government is trying to make some long term changes.
Some changes mentioned:

Permanently raise loan limits. The economic stimulus bill passed in February temporarily increased the limit on loans eligible to be FHA-insured. The ceiling until Dec. 31, 2008 is now $729,750, up from the normal $362,790 for single-family homes. Those are the ceilings for high-cost areas. The ceiling is lower in low-cost housing markets.

Reduce down payment requirements. Homeowners would no longer be required to have 3% equity or the cash equivalent to get an FHA-insured loan. The House bill would allow borrowers to get an FHA-insured loan with 0% down if they can show they can afford the mortgage payments. The Senate bill requires 1.5%.

Make it easier for borrowers in high-cost loans to refinance. The House bill would let some homeowners in default or at risk of default refinance into an FHA-insured loan.


Click here for the full story!

Oh, and P.S. Don’t hold your breath on these changes. It’s a nice thought, but we all know that the best laid plans can go horribly wrong at times. If you’re planning on buying a home before December 31st of this year – stick with your original plan. But if 2008 just wasn’t going to be your home-buying year, then you have some hope that the current changes that benefit the SF Real Estate market might be around next year and beyond. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

Luba