WASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro today announced the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will reduce the annual premiums new borrowers will pay by half of a percent.  This action is projected to save more than two million FHA homeowners an average of $900 annually and spur 250,000 new homebuyers to purchase their first home over the next three years.

Today’s action also reflects the improved economic health of FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (MMIF).  FHA’s recent annual report to Congress demonstrates the economic condition of the agency’s single-family insurance fund continues to improve, adding $21 billion in value over the past two years.

“This action will make homeownership more affordable for over two million Americans in the next three years,” said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.  “Since 2009, the Obama Administration has taken bold steps to reduce risks in the mortgage market and to protect consumers.  These efforts have made it possible to take this prudent measure while also ensuring FHA remains on a positive financial trajectory.  By bringing our premiums down, we’re helping folks lift themselves up so they can open new doors of opportunity and strengthen their financial futures.”

In the wake of the nation’s housing crisis, FHA increased its premium prices to stabilize the health of its MMI Fund.  In addition, the Obama Administration took dramatic steps to safeguard consumers in the mortgage market to ensure responsible borrowers continued to have access to mortgage capital as many private lending sources tightened their lending standards.

Today’s reduction will significantly expand access to mortgage credit for these families and is expected to lower the cost of housing for the approximately 800,000 households who use FHA annually.

FHA’s new annual premium prices are expected to take effect towards the end of the month. FHA will publish a mortgagee letter detailing its new pricing structure shortly.

2015 Loan limits for highest and lowest cost areas to remain unchanged

WASHINGTON - The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) today announced the agency's news schedule of loan limits for 2015. These loan limits are effective for case numbers assigned on or after January 1, 2015, and will remain in effect through the end of the year.

FHA's calculation for maximum loan limits in high cost metropolitan areas of the country will remain the same as the 2014 level of $625,500. The current standard loan limit for areas where housing costs are relatively low will also remain unchanged at $271,050.

Each year, FHA recalculates its national loan limit based on a percentage calculation of the national conforming loan limit. Depending on those limits, FHA's minimum national loan limit "floor" is at 65 percent of the national conforming loan limit. The floor applies to those areas where 115 percent of the median home price is less than 65 percent of the national conforming loan limit.

Conversely, any area where the loan limit exceeds the "floor" is considered a high cost area. The maximum FHA national loan limit "ceiling" is at 150 percent of the national conforming limit. In areas where 115 percent of the median home price (of the highest cost county) exceeds 150 percent of the conforming loan limit, the FHA loan limits remain at 150 percent of the conforming loan limit.

Areas are eligible for FHA loan limits above the national standard limit, and up to the national ceiling level, based on median area home prices. Additional information and loan limit adjustments for two-, three-, and four-unit properties, and in Special Exception Areas, are noted in FHA's mortgagee letter. An attachment to the Mortgagee Letter provides information on which counties are eligible for loan limits above the national standard. Borrowers with existing FHA insured mortgages may continue to utilize FHA's Streamline refinance program regardless of their loan balance.

The mortgage loan limits for FHA-insured reverse mortgages will also remain unchanged. The FHA reverse-mortgage product, known as the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), will continue to have a maximum claim amount of $625,500, with actual loan limits based on property value, borrower age, and current interest rates. Reverse mortgages allow homeowners age 62 and older to age in place by borrowing against the value of their homes without any requirements for monthly payments; no repayment is required as long as a homeowner lives in the home. The reverse mortgage is repaid, with interest, when the homeowner leaves the home.