SEATTLE - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today announced that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has increased its single-family home mortgage limits by more than seven percent.
Effective January 1, 2005, FHA will insure single-family home mortgages up to $172,632 in lower housing cost Washington counties, up from $160,176 last year. The loan limits for two-, three- and four-unit dwellings also increased to $220,992 for a two-family home; $267,120 for a three-family home; and $331,968 for a four-family home.
FHA insured home loan limits are even higher in 12 Washington counties with high cost housing: Clark, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom.
In King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties the new loan limits are $288,700 for a single-family home; $325,167 for a two-family home; $395,063 for a three-family home; and $455,842 for a four–family home.
The complete schedule of FHA mortgage limits for all areas is available on the HUD website at https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/hicost1.cfm. The FHA is sending letters to thousands of mortgage lenders and brokers to make them aware of the higher rates that can help families.
"These higher loan limits will help the FHA mortgage insurance program keep pace with the strong housing market while contributing to the Bush Administration's commitment to create 5.5 million new minority homeowners by the end of the decade," said Jackson. "The new limits will help create more construction, more jobs, and more economic growth, while increasing homeownership."
Last year, the maximum loan limits were $160,176 in low cost areas and $290,319 in high cost areas nationally.
Low-income and first time homebuyers are attracted to FHA-insured loans because the agency requires only a three-percent down payment.
The increases will also benefit senior citizens who qualify for FHA-insured reverse mortgages. Reverse mortgages allow homeowners age 62 and older to borrow against the value of their homes without selling them. Homeowners can select a lump-sum payment, monthly payments or tap into a line of credit. No repayment is required as long as a homeowner lives in a home with a reverse mortgage. The reverse mortgage is repaid, with interest, when a homeowner sells the home or dies.
Higher FHA loan limits don't cost the government any money, because the FHA Insurance Fund is fully supported by premiums paid by borrowers who receive FHA insurance.
The new loan limits are part of an annual adjustment HUD makes to account for rising home prices. Under federal law, loan limits are tied to the conforming loan limits of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, federally chartered corporations that buy and package mortgages.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.