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HUD No. 05-WA-14
Pamela Negri
(206) 220-5356
http://www.hud.gov/washington
For Release
Friday
June 24, 2005

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HUD RAISES FHA MORTGAGE INSURANCE LIMITS
Several Western Washington communities to benefit

SEATTLE--More homebuyers in six western Washington counties may be eligible for FHA insurance on their mortgages and home improvement loans under new mortgage limits released recently by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The limits were increased in Clallam, King, Snohomish, Kitsap, San Juan, and Thurston Counties to account for rising home prices.

The new mortgage limits for single-family units in the Port Angeles/Clallam County area are $187,150, up from $172,632; in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett MSA (King and Snohomish Counties), new limits are $305,900, up from $288,700; in the Bremerton-Silverdale MSA (Kitsap County), new limits are $215,650, up from $211,850; in San Juan County, new limits are $312,895, up from $290,319, and in the Olympia MSA (Thurston County), new limits are $194,650, up from $185,155. Higher limits also apply for purchases of two- to four-family homes. FHA loans also can be used to purchase condos and manufactured homes. New limits can be viewed at https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/hicostlook.cfm.

"These higher loan limits are in response to recent increases in the average price of housing. Higher loan limits will help more people purchase homes using FHA mortgage programs," said HUD Regional Director John W. Meyers.

Many homebuyers are attracted to FHA-insured loans because of the program's benefits: a three percent down payment, which can be 100 percent gifted from an acceptable source, liberal underwriting criteria, market rate interest, and consumer protections. FHA lenders are required to make efforts to help borrowers in financial difficulty avoid foreclosure. While the majority of FHA insured loans are made to first-time homebuyers, they are not restricted to first-time homebuyers or low-income persons.

Native Americans and Alaska Natives choosing to use HUD's Section 184 Indian housing guaranteed loan program will benefit as well because the loan limit for this program is 150 percent of the FHA mortgage insurance limit. Members of any federally recognized tribe could use the 184-loan program to purchase a home throughout all western Washington counties (except Wahkiakum) and in Yakima, Spokane, Stevens, and Lincoln counties.

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.

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.

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