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HUD # 06-WA-15
Pamela Negri
(206) 220-5356
For Release
May 19, 2006



SEATTLE -- More homebuyers in King and Snohomish Counties may be eligible for FHA insurance on their mortgages and home improvement loans under new mortgage limits effective May 18 announced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The new FHA mortgage limit for a single-family unit is $356,250, which allows for purchase of a home costing $367,268 with the required 3 percent downpayment. Higher loan limits apply for two to four-unit dwellings.

The increase is more than six percent above the previous limit of $335,800, which was set in January 2006. For a complete list by county, go to https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/hicost1.cfm.

These increases may allow more prospective homebuyers to qualify for FHA insured mortgages and home improvement loans to purchase or refinance one to four-unit residences including condos and manufactured homes. The higher limits will help seniors, age 62 or older, seeking FHA insured reverse mortgages (Home Equity Conversion Mortgages) to potentially access more equity from their homes.

"This significant increase in FHA loan limits is in response to the continuing rapid increases in the average price of housing in King and Snohomish Counties and will help more people purchase or refinance homes using FHA mortgage insurance," said HUD Regional Director John W. Meyers.

Many homebuyers are attracted to FHA insured loans because of the program's benefits: a 3 percent down payment, which can be 100 percent gifted from an acceptable source, such as gifts from family or a downpayment assistance program, liberal underwriting criteria, market rate interest, and consumer protections. FHA loans are not restricted to first-time homebuyers.

Recent changes in FHA loan processing make it easier for REALTORS®, lenders and consumers to process and qualify for FHA loans.

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- and moderate-income Americans; and supporting the housing needs of the homeless, elderly, and of 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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