Real estate practitioners with past clients who tapped risky subprime mortgage financing for their purchase have a reason to give those home owners a call.
In a key policy shift, the federal mortgage insurer FHA is allowing subprime borrowers with good payment histories and at least 3 percent in home equity to refinance to safe FHA financing.
The policy shift – strongly supported by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and put into effect by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in mid-July – is one of the first tangible changes to come out of the federal government’s efforts to curb defaults in the subprime market.
Defaults are expected to rise significantly among subprime borrowers in the next two years as the low starter rates that lenders used to lure customers expire and interest rates move upward, making monthly payments unaffordable for potentially millions of borrowers.
Only a portion of subprime borrowers who are facing spiraling monthly payments will be able to refinance into a government-backed loan because of the payment-history and equity restrictions imposed by FHA . But for those who qualify, the new policy opens the door for borrowers in high-risk financing to move into a fixed, long-term mortgage that’s far safer.
That option is something practitioners will want to pass along if they have past clients who tapped subprime financing and now might be facing payment pressure from higher interest rate payments.
Details of the new policy, called FHASecure, are available in a HUD Mortgagee Letter. You can also read NAR’s statement in support of the program on REALTOR.org.
– REALTOR® Magazine Online